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Full text of "The lone furrow [microform]"

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ImtituM lot Hiatorical Mlerorapradiictiaiw / ImtMiit cwwdtan da mieroraproductlnw hMoriquM 




1995 



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Th* copy filmed hara hn baan raproduead thank* 
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»«K»OCt»f M$OUITION mr QUIT 

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Hi 1^1^ 



<6S3 Eott Moln StrM 
(716) 2W - 5989 - Fox 



THE LONE FURROW 



THE 

LONE FURROW 



n 
W. A. FRASER 

ACTBOB OP 

"TBiBTunf mw," "TBoioroBaBaiM," 

"MOMWA," nc. 




D. APPLETON AND COMPANY 

NEW YORK 

1907 






258995 



CoPYKIGHT, 1907, av 
n. APPLETON AND COMPANY 



PubHt»ea Ftlmtary, an 



DEDICATED TO 
«THE GREAT WHITE BEAR' 



It 



FOREWORD 



The Lady-who-knows was telling me of the four great 
inen who had trailed their signatures up and down this con- 
tinent m huge enduring letters of steel and masonry and 
mental monuments; and, after a time, I asked: " But who is 
the one great man— four are confusing? " 

She smiled whimsically, and smoothed the folds of her 

plain dress thoughtfuUy for a minute. Then she asked 

Are you ford of child stories? " ' 

"Yes," I answered; "but what has that to do with the 

great point at issue? " 

With a prelude of the whimsical smile she related this 
little narrative: 

" 0"^e upon a time I was visiting in the home of one of 
these Big Four' men. Another visitor was there with a 
little baby. I think she did not know a great deal about 
babies. 

"One night I was wakened by the plaintive wafling of 
the little one whom I knew had been left to be cared for 
by the nurse. After a tim^-it must have been nearly an 
hour-the shrill httle voice was stilled, and I was just drop- 
ping off to sleep when sister Barbara came to my room, 
touched me on the arm, and beckoned me with forefinger, 
and in silence, to rise and follow her. 

"Very gently she opened the door a little; and, peeping 



Foreword 



through the crack, I saw, prowh'ng up and down the dim- 
lighted corridor, a huge white bear. 

" Presently the bear became metamorphosed, by the nearer 
view, into our host, the one comer of the ' Big Four,' clad 
in his white nightshirt, in his arms the little baby sucking in 
happy content from a feeding bottle of warm milk. 

"As we watc' ed— I think there was a tear of apprecia- 
tion blurring my sight— the little one fell asleep; then it was 
given back to the nurse, the white bear, grumbling as bears 
do, lumbered back to his den, and Barbara, saying: ' Wasn't 
it beautiful! I wonder where in the world he got that milk 
heated— he must have gone all the way down to the kitchen 
for it," slipped through the door of her room, and I fell 
asleep, glad that I had seen the generally hidden gentleness 
of a great man." 

" It was beautiful," I said to the Lady-who-knows. " I 
have written a book with a baby and a strong man in it, and 
I am going to dedicate it to the man of huge affairs who 
had pity in his heart for a babe, and tho wisdom to alleviate 
the little one's needs." 

"You don't know his name, so you can't get his permis- 
sion, ' the Lady-who-knows objected. 

" I will just dedicate it to the ' Great White Bear,' " 
I answered insistently, " then nobody will know, only you 
and I, and he can't object." 



. 



/ 





CHAPTER I 

JHIS chronicle of the simple life at Lilac Hedge 
would be like offering in barter a web of 
homespun if it were not for the story of a 
woman's pathetic wait which runs ihrough it 
' like a thread of burnt gold, and the mystery 
that shrouded Minister Neil Munro's life. 

For years the house had held its brick-red cheek de- 
fiantly to the village street, with just a curious old picket 
fence separating the two. 

When the Memsahib planted the spindly withes of lilac, 
they seemed so hopelessly attenuated for a possible barrier 
that I viewed her efforts with silent ridicule; but now the 
hedge rests its elbows on the picket fence in summer holding 
aloft a purple curtain behind which we rehearse our simple 
drama of life, shielded from the critical audience of the 
village. 

Our tent is pitched in the land beautiful— a sentient 
beauty that is not alone optical; a kindly fate is the real 
architect of our happy environment. The purple-red blos- 
som chisters of the hedge, like feathered plumes, nod con- 
tentedly to the graystone church that cuts its sharp gable up 
to the place of stars just across the earth road we call a 
I 



The Lone Furrow 



•treet. Sometimes the chureh it jiMt a blur against the Rem- 
brandt background of darkened night; and sometimes, in the 
enlarging moonlight, it looms cathedral-like. One night out 
of seven its stained-glass window shows a sacred group bathed 
in a flood of yellow light; star-led, sturdy shepherds gaze 
upon the infant Christ that nestles in the Madonna's arms. 
Just glass, blue and red, and figures bom of faltering art, 
and yet it stood a beacon light to a storm-tossed soul striving 
in the waters of bitterness, wandering blindly through the 
Valley of Achor. ' 

From within the thick stone walls a many-throated organ, 
leisurely, sonorous, making little of our pin pricks, thrusts 
Its rich melody across our hedge, and then we forget. 

On our right hand dwells "Grandma Murdoch"— 
" Grandma " in the consanguinity of our friendship, and the 
altitude of years that pyramid upward from the young life 
of our children to Grandma's three-score. In her eyes we 
stand deified as the authors of the little ones she adores; a 
curious reflex claim we have upon her fostering regard. The 
children go to her lawn jid prattle like the fussy second 
hand on a dignified clock; and Grandma figuratively strikes 
the hour— B rich word of wisdom or of approval now and 
then. 

Some curious leagues of unexplored mental territory lie 
between us elders, for we seldom take the long journey of 
i» traversing, to come together in one another's holding. 
Once in a great while one of the children may fall ill; then 
mdeed Grandma comes the many leagues of a dozen yards 
to ask how the little one is faring, bearing gifts of flowers, 
or a jelly, or a cooling black-currant drink. 

On our left dwell people lovable in their content of dis- 

2 



The Lone Furrow 



tant fnendship. And just beyond them lives the Agnostic, 
ever ready to wander erraticaUy up the walk to our Uwn 
POM«»ed of an insatiate desire to solve the Why and How 
and When, and rearrange the This and That of the 
universe. 

This monochromatic life, frictionless, smooth gliding, 
should have endured like a well-placed glacier; but it is 
in just such placid fields that meteoric rocks fall; and one 
day m June the beginning of a Something began. 

In the deceitfully quiet prelude of it, I had my trout 
rod m hand, waiting for Laddie, who, down by the stable 
was ruthlessly upturning to the disquieting light, pink-red 
spirals of coral that were earthworms. 

I heard a quick, nervous step on the board sidewalk 
which I knew heralded the approach of Teacher Ruth 
Harkett. She flustered through the hedge opening, clatter- 
ing the gate with nervous indecision; on the smooth, quaint, 
ivory-toned face, crested by bronze-gray hair, was acute 
distress. 

Something had gone wrong in the church, I noted men- 
tally. It was not the hour for Doo-doo's music; neither 
was ^t the set time for French; and as the little woman 
took mterest in nothing but the church, outside of these 
thmgs, I knew the wrinkled brow was caused by the huge 
graystone structure across the way. 

" Such trouble! " she panted. 

"Is it the organ again?" I asked. 

"No, not the organ." 

She did not confide in me; and I fdt that it was some- 
thmg not for the crude handicraft of man, so I said, "The 
Memsahib is about somewhere." 

3 



The Lone Furrow 



Teacher slipped through the door like a frightened 
moiue, .11 in nervous hute; and, just as Laddie and I 
passed to the sidewalk, she and the Memsahib came out, the 
latter 8 face mirroring the visitor's anxiety, as she said: 
Don't suy too late, please; we may need you." 
Laddie and I swung down the country road, two chil- 
dren— I youthed to blitheness by the rejuvenating tingle of 
the quivering rod in my fingers. The air was an atmos- 
pheric blanket of vaporous warmth. I cried aloud in joy 
when a raindrop spatted 'again:! my nose. 

I' The trout will be crazy to feed," I said to Laddie. 
I bet we'll catch a whole lot of fish. Father," he 
answered. 

We had just topped the long hill that curved away to a 
gentle valley that cradled in its lap a brook loitering like 
a laggard schoolboy aft.r a mad scrambling race to escape 
from the clutch of some Genii hidden in the pine wood that 
was an emerald wedge driven between the hills away to 
our right 

We ran down the clay road, too careless to quarrel with 
claiming gravity. The loose-jointed wooden bridge drooped 
Its shoulders as if its thirty years of bearing countless loads 
of golden grain had broken its spirit; but its rail, purple- 
pay, shone like a necklace of pearls in the ripple of ame- 
thyst waters beneath. Little singing brook voices came up 
through the chinks of the planks as we clattered across 
in restless haste; and where we climbed the rail fence to a 
meadow that nursed millions of sapphire violets, was a jar- 
nng note of man's inhumanity to man; it read: 



The Lone Furrow 



FISHING STRICTLY PROHIBITED. 
TRESPASSERS WILL BE PROSECUTED, 

Donald MacKay. 

With the point of my rod I tickled Donald M«cKay in 
the nbs; nibbed its brass nose across his notice in derision. 
Little we stood in awe of the MacKay. Was he not our 
postmaster, and a Tory, with the opposite party, the Lib- 
eraU, m power? Donald, holding his ofSce by toleration, 
miiEht quarrel with no man. His writing on the wall was 
a dead letter-killed by the insistence of the village n(v 
mads that they would cast a fly wherever the speckled 
beauties swam. 

Then I headed for the Skipper's pool and flicked its 
purple breast with flies of alluring garb; my Brown Hackle 
my Silver Doctor-all of the lying decoy, I tried in vain. ' 

Suddenly I saw a look of anxiety on Laddie's face; but 
before I could ask the reason I was answered from behind 
my back. 

"Aye, friend, an' hoo do ye like my fishin'?" 

It was MacKay's voice. 

"I don't think much of it," I answered, somewhat un- 
graciously; I've lost two flies and a good cast on a root 
in the stream, and haven't had a rise." 

"I'm feared the brook's fished oot. I think I'll just 
ak doon yon notice; it's too much o' an attraction tee 
fishermen." 

" I v«s going to ask you for leave, MacKay, as soon 
as I got home," I said apologetically. " I thought perhaps 
5 



i 



The Lone Furrow 



I'd enrich my requnt with a couple of trout for your supper, 
then* 

"AJi, ye needn't trouble. I dinna mind your fithins— 

l^f«!^K '^ *** •**"*• ^"» ^ •"""'J '>i«like the .«y 
WUhe Angu. h» o' doin'. He get* the Iom of my rod 
to fith my own prcMrves, and half the time he doesn't bring 
It back at aU— I have tae send for it. I'll just hae a pipe 
«n' go bade." 

We lifted up together, while Laddie, encouraged by 
the Scot s peaceful tone, threaded one of the live coral things 
to the curve of his ho(A. 

"Ha'e they any news o' the Minister?" MacKay 
asked, running a stalk of diy grass through the stem of 
his pipe. 

" What minister do you mean, MacKay? " 

"I didna know there was more than one in the village," 
he answered. 

I understood. MacKay meant the guardian of the 
Scotch Kirk; die Methodist paison, and the Baptist, and aU 
the others were, according to the Calvimst, just not min- 
isters at all. 

"What's wrong with him?" I asked. 

" He's away— did you no* hear it? He disappeared yes- 
terdfl^-vanished, like the spirits o' Tam O'Shanter." 

Now I understood why Teacher had come for the Mem- 
•ahib with a world of trouble in her sweet, patient face. 

^ Perhaps he's just gone for'a visit," I hazarded. 

' Not at all. He just left the poor lady, his wee wifie, 
expectm him home tae brei^fast, an' she's waitin' yet. They 
saw him at the station, some say. It's altogether most ex- 
traordmare. I'm thinkin' he was daffy of late " 
6 



The Lon e Furrow 

of right X ,o Knlr *T"* ": "* '"■'^' •"'» • •'"■ve 

be J!^Z7^i:f;rLJix ~« "•" "-- -«'" 

name o' the Kirk." '"-«»™*'"« «o wiudje the good 

we-med beyond count Z^ ^.^'^r *•" °""' 

w»,«^utj.„y. , ,,„ ,r wr jts:^" ^-'- "' 

-• the .ing... tL* heVfnTlr S^ ^ -/- 

the o«:^„.» ^" "" ""P*"*"! to the «.Iemm> of 

MacKay w., cut short in h« har«.gue by . yeU f„«, 
7 



forgett^, the „.,„„, ,^;;^^«t'J>e Scot ««,.«„d,j, 

■avMe. ™verM-«nd .U we could do wu 

Hell break the lin« I p i . 
-««. Di„„, h^uTJZLl^ '"'" ''^' ^«''>. ^ him 

"Let hin. bide' ;Lct;;,r7«'h." '^'" " ""^ '^••~'««'. 

h^.. *^<j,e, let him bide-dim» ynk on 

Je giver of thi. ;dv£ oT^"" '^ ""■*«'' '^V-" And 
^ like . w« ho«e "Sr^^ "^'^ """""^ "P «nd 
h* nrfJed „p hi, ,ie^ I^^J^'T" *** ^acKay', c "t 
-yine- " m„ij , *"° *rew himself on h;. L i' 



The Lone Furrow 



ho*- it happened, but Si TltL • , ^ '"^'"^ '"«- i»« 
K«P. wd in he went. ''^ ''" *^""^'^ ^""^ -"r 

•n S";!Si *rdit.!ertnk"' *"* '^■"••^"^ »«,. 

whirled «,d oune JZt^ ^^'T' " •">' "'« »« 
*peed. ""^ «"*»• the Imr „„p„g ^j^h ^;, 

,^'^°"'l^e«;^;ilTnt*^ to the .„.,W, 

dicwient of the MkKmTT 4^[ u' ^^ '»'•* '» •"* P'e- 
d.-«PP««d from off tt ;.c^ o^^h ^ I"* •'"•' f "'«'«^'y 
V I clutched ,t the bS^. r^Hr^ /" """• -- 
b.n:h rod qufve«d and WeTw^K * " ''°^" ''•"k, the 
Wd ri^-d. the running i";*V"^ P'««»«. the line 
»Pr.y from its quivering ^H '"""""^ " ^'^y ^'"h" of 

J;ar:.tStttirM^^^^^^ ^'^ '•" »he 

helpleii. '^"^" ""^ '«l»w, where he wa, quite 

oi it: tw^i'ss;"' ;:?"'•'' '° '"« »"-- 

•«ongthe.lippe.yLnLlSL'°^"''^'^«- I" 

»J"»b in the sZkled monISs l"?'/ ''r'"'^ ■"" 
the waters. "onarcns g,lls, i,ftej ^j^^^ ^^^ 

the'S/^ed'EL":; Ts "t V"-''- '"'' *- - 

of the POOL *' ^'^^ "^"^"K "bove the b«k 

."Areyouallrieht. MacKay?•• 
Ibadn.thoughtof.b«hto-d„."„.•aM.cK.,. 



^ 



The Lone Furrow 



clambering out. " But I'm not mindin' it a bit, seein' as 
we've landed, between us, yon trout." 

He had the fish in his grasp now, caressing him like a 
loved child. 

" Three poun', if he's an ounce," MacKay judged, mak- 
ing a scales of his hands. " I'm powerful wet, though," 
and he whipped off his breeks and wrung them out. 

" It's an odd turn this, MacKay," I said ; " every man- 
jack in the village has been after the Skipper for three 
years, and now Laddie catches him with a schoolboy's 
tackle." 

"Aye; Fate often throws the best cut to fools or chil- 
dren. I hooked the Skipper once mysel', but he took my 
cast, broke it as though it was a thread — I'll swear this is 
the hook in his maw now." 

True enough, the old warrior of the pool wore three 
fly-hooks in his upper lip, as a Rameses might have 
sported scarabx, and his sides were scarred from combat 
with bulls of his own kind. He was the finest brook trout 
I had ever seen; but, also, there was the bitter thought 
that I, scientific angler, had failed in the taking of 
this prize, and that ten-year-old Laddie had put shame 
upon me. 

Then we wrapped the ling trout in a royal robe, purple 
and fine linen, the clear cool grass of the meadow, entombed 
him in my creel, and with pride in our hearts we swung 
back to the village. 

Just as we came to the roadway, MacKay wrote on the 
prohibitory notice, with a pencil: 

" The Skipper wu caught this date, Z7th of June, 1906." 
10 



The Lone Furrow 



As the Mei^hib «^e tV "f " "^"•" ^' ^'^^ 
Winded by the triumph ThawLt '"■^" '" ""' ^''<^ ^' 
"i^die caught theSit'TK»l"h" ''k '""■' ^'''^ 

" Hush-sh! » she whis^™, . " '"''"'>'' " 
hand toward my study. '^''' ""^ """'""'d ^■A her 

worfhe1;,rr '"' "" '"* ""'^™. fo' without , 

«ke7°"'" ""^'^ «''-^ '""^ Mimster?-. the Memsahib 
I nodded. 
;|^I've brought the poor wifie home." 

p.ead4irhrgSr.'rt.i."vr '-• -^ --^^ 

hc«elf. ;„ a wlws frh'"Lt /'" ^"""'- =« *^ «■'• 
husb«,d returned. ' ^^* ^°' » ^'^'^ •'"ys ""til her 

The Memsahib explained that fh., 
me to do in the matter as the R^ *? u""" "°*'"e ^^ 
d««.« of the Kirk h^Tal^^n ^" '^' "'""^ """^ ** 
'•"B; just that the «Sfe it to .r T"'** '"' ''« «"<«- 
of consolation and ch^ ""^ ^'"^ "'^ «* ■" « haven 

ai«^;"':heXi5r:;r?L^'i^r^.-«- 

words was lost upon me at the t,W r ''^'^'^^'^ "f her 
I came to know^^^,? t^lH^^^ ZT'^'''' """ 
stronger than men and women. " '^'^ '° P™^' 

That afternoon lona was a;«;a.j 



ii 



taking of the Skipper. The feeling of accepted calamity in 
regard to Minister Munro's disappearance had obtained 
rapidly now ; Minister had been gone but two days — might 
he not be away just for a rest? But then Jean must know 
something of bad import over his going, for it was her ap- 
prehension that permeated our nerves. 

I thought of the weird address the Minister had given 
his congregation the verjr last Sabbath preceding his dis- 
appearance. He had been like one possessed of a haunting 
memory of some black chapter in the past. It appealed 
to me as if he were speaking out of his memory — at times 
his declamatory vehemence had caused me to study his face 
for signs of mental disorder. He reviled the drink demon 
as though it were an embodied ogre standing in front of 
him. In fact, I saw MacKay and some of the stanch Pres- 
byterians, sitting in front pews, squirming under his casti- 
gation. 

Full of this remembrance I went to the Memsahib and 
spoke of it. It was a new light. Munro perhaps had be- 
come deranged through overwork, and might have com- 
mitted suicide. But she would not believe it likely that 
Minister had done such a wicked thing, holding that he was 
perhaps ill somewhere, and that we should hear from him 
in a day or so. 

The children crept about the house silently, like mice, 
instinctively knowing that Dread had stolen in with the 
shadows of evening, and would perch upon the pillow of 
some sleeper in our household. When the subtle change 
from gray to shadow had ceased, and it was dark, they 
came to say good night. 

Always this was an observance of unbridled liberty. I, 
12 



tenderly « dfd his sister '"'' '^'"^ °^ "^ e"'*' as 

to S:^^TLT::.izJr "-^^ '"^ ^''"<- 

b^ueht close by Z:Tst^'^Z"M'"V!!' ^^ -« 
«t apart from «e. and I knew thrir h 7^'"'' '^'' J''" 

Perhaps these thinn. J,, i J ""^^ "'"« ^'^Ped- 

-ggested'^anS h " Wdlrd "\f '^''- '^'"« -« » 
Jad held all tls tL wi , «LwV'" "V"" "^^ 
happiness; drivine mv n«, if /u ^ "* satisfaction, to 

-h dwelling :; STw'lh^rts •: --^ ^"^ 

edy of drink, or of poverty, or of d"^h ' f """ *"«' 
to me nebulous knowIerl«. / ' °' °^ "'"tse, was 

had to do. Ev^ te ^L T"' '° """^ ^"'' -^om it 
dominant, nieanllt ^ p t^tf i^^ *' "''^' '-^■«"-^- 
the Memsahib and the chTd. ^'" '"''^^ ««Pt to 

hedp-ts heart throltdttlar " ''' '"-«' '^^ 
Joon I heard the nervous step of Teacher Ruth; it irri- 

13 






m 



The Lone Furrow 



She turned in at the gate. 

" There's no word of Minister yet, God guard him ! " 
she whispered to me; and then went over to the two who 
were sitting in silence, waiting. And there I am sure she 
told an optimistic lie of charitableness — a weak invention, 
a tale of hope; thinking to help Jean to a little sleep that 
night. 

My mental disquietude was strangely at variance with 
the silence of the evening. The air was like an irritating 
void, rec!^p:ive, vibratory to the least friction of noise. 
Down where the pond cradled in the valley's lap, the pip- 
ing voices of young frogs rose upon the stillness and floated 
up to us — tiny trebles of complaint they seemed. 

Suddenly the strum of a banjo picked by irresolute fin- 
gers pushed waveringly down the street and over the hedge. 
Then a sweet tenor voice — so sweet, so familiar, that I 
knew Jean would shiver in misery — mingled with the drone 
of the banjo. It was Jean's brotht ', Robert Craig, who 
sang " Home they brought her warrior dead." And what 
was the strange fatality that wedded his sweet tenor to 
the words that were like the drip of blood from the fingers 
of Mamselle Guillotine! 

•• Home the/ brought her wtrrior de«d; 
She nor swooned nor jittered cry; 
All her maidens, watching, laid, 
• She must weep or she will die.' " 

How clearly the knife thrust through the night air from 
the open window of the tavern, just beyond Grandma's 
house — but a stone's throw from where we sat. 

When the singer's vcite hushed at the end of the sec- 

14 



verse I almost welcomed the moj 
voices that followed *'' ^'"^S' -- — u,c 

a little supper." ^.mtyre to-day, and are having 

village it brought him "thinTw r^ -^^^^ '" *'"' 
master-drink. Like an erhl 1 *"* '"'"^"f''' l^nd- 

united bellow of many, "nharml 7 i''""^'"'' "^' ">e 
"There'll be a hot tW -^'""''^ '''=''•""« *at: 
Their laugh er mc^k j the t °" *""" '"""'^''t! " 
our little g4. sl'Sy tdtTcT r ^' "'^ -« 
do-v; perhaps the revel^ had „ . "^ '^"""^ '^' ^''n- 
Pr««ntly the hilariouTnoTses ta^^ 'T. *»■" '«""• ^^ 
three women talking in"eStt 'T '■ '^i'' ^ "'"''^ ''''" t''^ 
V'< all had determined ™£''-'? 'T *""'=^- tacitly 
we all dreaded the waleful ^oLV "'^^'^ ' *^'"k 
«orbid for my work in theldj ' '"'"' '"''"^ "^ 

darkness held ListincXthe for^s t ''''="'^'^- ^he 
°w way, with some janglinl IT x"^" """ =°«"""g 
speech. -""^""^ ''"nent of discord in their 

The treacherous light of th. „ 
silhouetting my fonn ag^^'t T" k''"".™''^ ''""^''^ "e. 
«w through the gate St -n 'l, f .' ""^^Sround. and I 
of Robert, as he calTed mt in'l/'f. ^^f P^ '"""^ ^- 
chauseni You ought to be in bed J! °' ^"'^"^^ **»""- 
midnight oil, you know! " '' ' "° «°od burning 

I ^rted to the gate, through i, an, ,,,^^^,...^^^^ 



ii 



The Lone Furrow 



sister is in here, Robert — for God's sake go home, boy; 
Jean's in sore trouble 1 " 

My appeal shamed the boy — sobered him. 

"Sorry, Doctor — awf'ly sorry I" he said, repentantly. 
" Poor Jean! Munro's a sweep I " 

"Hush-h-h!" I admon^'shed. "Go, Robert; come and 
see your sister to-morrow — do, please do." 

The boy seemed to understand, for he said : " I wanted 
to see Jean bad to-night — I wanted to tell her something 
"bout that sweep. I'll come to-morrow. Good night. Doc" 

I walked home with Teacher and we talked about this 
dominant, simple going away of one man that seemed des- 
tined to enshadow our lives. It was really the absence of 
known reason for Minister's going, the paucity of clew that, 
to my mind, made it difficult to trace him, or to console 
Jean. " What do they say? " I asked. 

"Horrible insinuations chiefly — they drag in Malrolm 
Bain's name." 

" Malcolm Bain 1 Good heavens!" 

She nodded. " You see, Dr. Cameron, their hinting at 
a thing like that proves that they don't know the real rea- 
son, whatever it is. Perhaps it's just the mysterious wajrs 
of Providence," she continued with pious introspection. " It 
may be that Minister was called upon to sacrifice himself 
to wake up the sleepers — to rouse fresh interest in church 
matters." 

Here was a curious example of centralized thought. To 
the little woman, her mind running in somewhat narrowed 
grooves, it was more of a structural edifice, the shrine, God's 
tabernacle wherein his worshipers foregathered, that ap- 
pealed to her as a saving power, rather than the intense 
16 



labor H; Sir iTj'h-T/^'" "■■' ^-» "' 
At that time he wasa th Jol "^ ^J°'' *"' *'"* *h««- 

theology. po„dII.t^ thtr^'T' '"''■ """"^ =« ^^ n,ay. it's 
toscthS; 32'™! 1:"^.''" .'.''''' »•>« P^^byterians 

stock, and dui,„risTvrd^!r.''\';itt" " -^l!'"' 

to quarrel about they can't snKt ^" / ^ '"''* """bing 
prone to take sidT ^ " '"*" ^"^"""^ *"«" they're 

than Geor^oi aid he .hT ^ ." '"* ^■^'«' -»" 

the shadow of^e C?htrht'' ' «"»"«-> °«« sat i„ 
what dearth of'S.SS tsT 2°^ '"' "'^' "° "-"- 
Of his1:;K t^^ISi^- -all for the hetter^e.. 

thingt:rriin;^hr'"T°^"^'°- «-- 

you noticed hil sLons^ P T '*"''■ ^"'^''^ «*-«'t 
though "-this was runi ^."''"«/'"' wouldn't have. 

p-a i«i oi re^,Ttr"j "iT°" T." r -- 

continued, "that he anLr-T! l • • "'*"' T«*:her 

•■ Z Ti 2?" t; '" r .'"■^ """^ '»"" ■• 

^7 



The Lone Furrow 



should be. There was something wrong" — she said this 
with an insistent rising inflection in her voice — " Minister's 
sermon last Sabbath was horrible. Not to me, perhaps," she 
added reflectively, " for I could see in his eyes that his soul 
was in anguish, and I was full of sympathy, but it was 
reactionary— it widened the breach in the Church. I just 
went home and prayed for the man." 

" You should have prayed for the congregation," I said 
crossly. "They want a sermon of incense, an unctuous 
anointment, not the wrath of the righteous." 

"But if he were in the right," she questioned, "why 
did the Lord call upon him to depart like this? " 

I was dumfounded. What an extraordinarily unchari- 
table thing was this form of religion that should have been 
all charitableness! And from Teacher, too, a woman I had 
looked upon as the most gentle creature in the world! Just 
blind she was, seeing nothing but the material welfare of 
formalism. 

" I'm sorry you take this view of it," I said. " Min- 
ister and Jean will need all their friends in this hour of 
trial." 

This appeal acted upon Teacher as though she had sud- 
denly been transformed into another person. We were 
standing at the gate of Teacher's little home; her head 
drooped on one of the square-topped gate posts, and she 
sobbed bitterly. 

" You had better go in," I said, " you'll catch cold." 
I walked back pondering over that curious thing char- 
acter, that like a weather vane holds straight into the teeth 
of the bitter gale, and sways and turns foolishly in an idle 
stmxmer breeze. 

i8 




CHAPTER II 

rto^ifLHoTit^i" 

The Memsahib had said Malcolm would mm, / u 
was a gaunt Scottish Don Quixote 7u^ . T '■ ^"^ ''* 
of sorrow, a-d with a st/onr i, T^.f' "" """'''"'»» 
couched in the bS of th^wer '"'^'" "^' ""^'^ 

day^t^:„!"t-" «"^'' "^ ':''' ^■•"^'^ '"« --^ 

that when he dS the , "'* '"''' *"^*^ ^*''«»«'ce 
the son. """" ^"'^ "" «™Pl' sufficiency for 

•Among other antique flitches nf tfc- u- • ■ . 

giate way. and then, all at once ^JZ .T • ■'" ' "'"'■ 

-•ntense chagrin, M^lcol^ "^ZtZt^T"' 'f-'"'' 

a peculiar mundane rut of iis owTf^X ""° 

19 



The Lone Furrow 



When the father died the ion leued the farmj, and 
devoted hit energies to the vocation that he thought suited 
him best, and which the villagers declared wa* no vocation 
at all, " Just a shilly-shallying wi' life." 

Physically Malcolm was almost a giant in stature, and 
absolutely so in strength. The physical strength was ap- 
parent in the huge chest, the straight massive neck, and the 
arms that corded muscle caused to hang in an ellipse at his 
side as he walked ; they were like the curved sides of a paren- 
thesis enclosing the story of his physical abundance. 

These things of exterior predominance Bain could not 
hide, but his diffident reserve was a wall that had preserved 
his mental force, to me, as to the others, a ttrra incognita. 
It was only later through our endeavor to find the miss- 
ing minister that I found way through this barricade, to 
revd in the abundant richness of Bain's beautiful mind. At 
this time he was seemingly engrossed in an arduous super- 
vuion of the church and the weather. Areas of low pressure, 
and waves of heat and cold he held at the tips of his huge 
fingers; and in the Kirk, burning questions, large and small, 
followed the tortuous course upward from the congregation 
and throui^ the elders to the pinnacle of his wise arbi- 
tration. 

Once the Memsahib had maintained to me quietly that 
Malcolm's life had been changed when Jean Craig became 
the wife of Neil Munro. Malcolm was not a man to give 
a sign either in the matter of hearts or estate; so I looked 
upon the Memsahib's theory as being purely intuitive. 

But this day, when Malcolm came down the walk and 
topped the little gate with his huge bulk, and neglected 
entirely the great signs there were in the sky, with its 
20 



H« ««e in. Md we JT '^ V^ °^*' •omething. 
'•wn, with . d"c .W^ „7;rf«.'» t '^''' - «'« 
" !• there no word J^ • ^""J"» "" «^ '«•«• 

'V of even-thing. "^ "^ " *'" ""' «P'««'nK the vku- 

to speak. ^ WM a man requiring incentive 

^Pp^rJ2.:£,^ ^'' '^■>^ over Nei, 
of Z7^:* """"" '' "'■'*' '-- •-" •'»«'-:». the bowl 

;;id.d„'tfa«,^of,h„..j^^^_j 

• reproof to my derel^ .^LJ '""^^'»'- It wa, 
"Scotch bodies dLuTil "Sir''- ^'" '■« •'«''««'. 
'"if He wa. lettin. tr.Zl^^' *'''^'-' « « 

Highl«,de« from the sS BlocT *"! T'"'' ** «■« 
oppom^it, as the. grabXt?L?;i:"" ""^ " ^'"^ '^^ 
clo,uenrn,^7" "" " "^ •'^-'-■" ' objected; ".n 

the dn-nli^::! "" '''''^' ">' -"»«^; he was bitter against 

•'.T*^, '"*,"'*'' """J" " mistake." 
Purely that wasn't a fault? " 

31 



The Lone Furrow 



" Not if he had ju»t introduced it in hi* lennon*; but you 
*ee, Doctor, he trierl to make them live up to it Oh, he 
made lott of enemies; he wa» too young to have the ler- 
pent't wiidom. You lee, in the Kirk we're for a lot of 
religion, but broadly put, man, broadly put Men are all 
tinful ; we accept that ai a matter of belief, but not in our 
own houieholdt, if you undentand. And Minister Munro 
was for nailing tinner* to the cro**. Have you heard what 
they're saying? " 

" No, and I don't want to." 

" Well, you'd bc*t build a high wall round the Hedge 
at once then." 

" For God'* sake, Bain, we must keep viciou* rumoi* 
from — from " 

" From Jean," Bain said, and the metallic cynicism had 
gone from his voice. 

" You'll stand by her. Bain, I know." 

" Aye, I'll do that if I fall away fr^m the KirL I'm 
a busy man, I haven't much time to spare, but I'll take on 
myself to find the Minister and bring him back — if he's 
alive." 

"Why do you say that?" I asked petulantly. "Of 
course he's alive — ^why should he be dead ? " 

It was strange how I resented this implied conviction 
on Bain's part, when I had held the same myself in speak- 
ing to the Memsahib. 

" Aye, you're right — ^why should he be dead." 

Bain repeated my words in a flat tone, almost devoid 
of interest, and I knew that in his mind he was saying, 
"H, sdead." 

There was no reason for this belief that was just an 
22 



The Lone Furrow 



^^ What of that? " ' "■'" owJked. 

" Von cauldron is like , j<^.t 
W«,ced „en like the . n dm^^^' ' ^^ «' '•' «««- -n- 
come. Donald MacKav " bT- ^""^ " »««• Here 

'';•• ««,din, in S'lhe rdd^ell'"'"''- "^''" "^ 

the „,oant. „ we'll get a wel^ „„ » " "^ «'"»'' «' 
^neres no word o* the M- • 

fenced MacKay when he w« wen "17' '* ^«'" '««- 

There's a deal of »,it -r t "'"" »««'«>t. 
Mlcohn d^ly. "'^ °' '''^ '* ">« -'t word." answered 

pond; •• «,d Bain'^stSr X 'S''^''"''! ^'^ ^r>, the 
board^sidewalk ominously. ^' '"' '^'» hanuBering the 

woaian to keep the milk o' h. T""^ "" «"»« good 
'^^l- He's just sollt as tr ""'r «'"« '"^ 
""ather to him. MyJ but The, "^ T"" "^^ "^ the 

-".V. 0^ccou/firea^tU^rtm:°"'-'"-'''' 
23 "°°" "•«"'*" street and 



The Lone Furrow 



no touch a soul. Time'll drag, I'm fearin' ; now the Skip- 
per's took, the fishing's not worth the trying; and if Min- 
ister doesna come back there'll be no service the morrow, 
eh?" 

But I was in no mood for his garrulous tongue. So I 
put on my hat, saying, " I'll jog to the office with you for 
my mail. Postmaster," and drew him away from the Hedge, 
launching him into lament over the worry that had come 
to the Kirk through th? vagaries of Munro. 

MacKay jabbed vindictively with his big stick at every 
third plank of the walk, as though he spitted a MacLean 
oi- a MacDougall at each thrust. 

" Minister's gone as he came," he said. " He was a 
shaughlin body at best. I'm not sayin' this, mind you, like 
some of they ithers, because the poor body's back is turned, 
for from the first I maintained thai his depth was no pro- 
foondity. I twigged, mind you, man, that when we didna 
understand him, he no understood himself. It was mostly 
vaporings; his theology was as different from what the 
Kirk was accustomed to as them newfangled, enamel pots 
are from the solid iron that oor mithers used, and didna 
blister an' crack at a bit o' heat." 

■" It was just Minister's way of trying to wake up the 
church sleepers," I argued, somewhat crossly. " They were 
just opiated with a sense of their holiness. Their own sins 
were small " 

" Aye, an' mean, too," MacKay interjected. 

"Yes, mean; but they fancied that by praying hard and 
regular attendance they could show a balance on the ri|^. 
side of the reli^ous register, and were safe for a squeeze 
into Heaven." 

*4 



_T le Lone Furrow 



God forbid ti'u"- - "■»• a« »k. »* r ! 
discovered yonder- an'Vh^r, *? ^*^««^^»"Bhl>ns should be 

thought the elders toolrl tt tr""' i *"'"^' ''" 
w«y or the other with th^ TJu " ^^ ""='' """^ 

to a sense of theiries^^;.-,?, /' T^^' '° ^"^"^ ">em 
and the daughte!^." ''"^""'"'"5' ^°' '»>» «ke of the sons 

keeper. Fergus m^TsinZ^^lZ ™". \''''»"'"'^ 
"sponsible for Dan MacWh ' ,• u- '°S ° "^""'^y ^"^ 
IPJl's John. It was^l b '^^ ".' 'u^^'" ^""^^ ^^^''^■ 
Elder Black accoTdtf eo -SinTst: ^TJ .^ "''r.^' '>' 
« once. I dinna take stock in h • • ' ^°"' °'^'°'' 
sans, and Neil Munro 1^ ,1 ?".'"'.??"''• P»ga™ are pa- 
way o' salvatioTburi tit,'" '"'V" ^"'^>'' ■" '»>« 
himself. And Jean C^! J T T""" '^aughlin' ideas 
•nariyin' him." ^ ''™"«''* *»"* "^1 «« herself by 

thuibrthlf'g,r7 " ?rj" r ""^-^ '«'-. «> I 

passed the ^S^ ttrghlhe^'S T' ""f' .""" 
turned out to be but a bill thJ r . . ^"^ *°"e'' 't 

my feeling of reS I k„ ^ r"'''' " '•''' "»' dampen 
was less of relirious obL^ ^ P«tmaster's animosity 
of a son, Pet« Tad sSZT *"" ■"""" •"■" »-" 'o«t 

firmly believed, by the S,?r '","rT' »"^«'''' ^ 
fair dower. ' knowledge that Jean had a 

reacirhlr *'' "''"^- " *' ^-«'"T' -ked when I 

I al'JJ^J:''"'""'* '" ""'"^ '^-e ^-selves already," 

25 



The Lone Furrow 



A flush spread over her face; she was angry in defense 
of the Church. 

" Whom did you see ? " ?he asked. 

" Malcolm Bain." 

" Well, he's a good Christian man, anyway, and he'll take 
the Minister's part. He'd lay down his life for Jean, Mal- 
colm would, I think." 

" But that may only complicate matters ; he'd be a dan- 
gerous sort of knight perhaps." 

" No, you hardly understand Bain's character. Honor 
and nobility of spirit possess his very being. He wanted 
to marry Jean years ago— he worshiped the ground she 
walked on." 

" She should have wedded him." 

" She would have done so, husband, had it been the 
Lord's will." 

" She wouldn't have come by this trouble — Malctdm 
would never have deserted her." 

" You are speaking hastily, husband," the Memsahib 
said, with gentle reproach. " We must just wait and see 
what the Lord's will is. But I tell you this, that Jean 
will stand her trial without complaint, and it's not for us 
to quarrel with what is." 

Somehow an answer did not come handily to my lips, not 
a proper answer for a woman speaking in faith, at any rate, 
so I was almost glad when I heard a voice hailing me from 
the Hedge wicket. 

There was the scuttle of a white something from 
the hall, with a clamorous protest in staccato yaps of 
defiance. 

With my eyes shut I would have known that Blitz's 
26 



iMrt 



The Lone Furrow 



ZZf '" "" ""' '■"■"• ■"*"• <•■"■«. ■•".' .. o" 

Doc, have you joined them?" ' 

" Joined what — who ? " 

"The Pharisees-the sycophants. You look VA, '^ 
27 



m 



The Lone Furrow 



one of the mourners. But you're all right, old man; you 
didn t roast Neil when he was here like the others, and 
then pull a long face when he flew his kite." 

"Don't talk that way, Robert," I counseled; "think 
of Jeai;, and what she suffers." 

" Yes, she'll suffer. She'll wash the feet of that hypo 
cnte and dry them with her hair— every day she'll do that 
because she's so good hersjelf that she doesn't know a counter- 
feit from the real coin." 

"You're not turning against Neil, Robert?" I pleaded. 
"No; I turned. He was a sweet one to forbid them giv- 
ing me a drink at the hotel, wasn't he? " 

"He did it for your own sake, Robert, and for your 
sister's sake." 

"Well, what about himself?" 
•'What about him, Robert?" I asked vacuously. 
" Yes. what about him— nothing. The praying hypo- 
crites knew nothing, and I, Doc—' poor Robert,' as he used 
to caU m«s-know nothing. There's a big query written at 
the end of his name in every house in lona, and when they 
ask me I answer — nolhinfl " 

"If you know anything you should tell it— anythine 
IS better than suspense." 

"Is it— anything? " 

" I think so." 

" I don't, so I say— nothing." 

What a curious mixture of weakness and strength was 
t*-- boy. I contrasted him with Malcolm. If Malcolm 
had known anything, and deemed it wise to smother the 
knowledge, he would have smothered even his thoughts; but 
the boy must boast, like a weakling, of some knowledge 
28 



The Lone Furrow 



that was power, and then doggedly claim its sole guardian- 
snip. 

" Very well," I said impatiently, " but you'll only add 
to Jean s misery by drinting now, Robert." 
I, .." °?^L ''""'"^ ' Christian Scientist. But you're only 
half a Christian and no scientist at all. You've got the 
cause and the effect playing cart before the horse-it's this 
accursed thing that started me off. It makes me boil when 
I think of " 

The boy stopped and flicked angrily at the lilacs with his 
cane. 

"Of what, Robert?" 

" Of Hell and its agents posing as sly pilots. And lec- 
ture ! Lord I you'd think that howling in the church squared 
everything! " 

The boy was up, and striding for the gate, angry with 
the msufliciency of the whole Christian faith, laid out weak 
and panting by his sophistical babble. 

"Hold on, Robert! " I pleaded; "come in and talk to 
Jean. 

He turned, and taking a step b k we met. He scanned 
my face closely; perhaps he found pitying sympathy there, 
tor he verged to a tone of confessional dependence. " I 
cant do it; I'm shaky," he whispered. "I'm shaky now, 
but 1 11 come back and see Jean. I'll come back, and I'm 
going to cut It out, sure. I'm going to quit! " 

He was off before I could reply. 

Perhaps the neiv-born tragedy in Jean's life was no 

greater than the inherited one in her brother's. That was 

the dreadful mockery of the boy's words when he said, " I'm 

going to cut it out." It was a taint, a living sore kept 

20 



The Lone Furrow 



alive by the corrosive of insatiate desire— the curse of Ham, 
undying, because it was still a thing of levity— the drink. 
The boy's father had died — rather had ended a livmg death 
in horrible alcoholic dissolution. I remembered him well, 
Andrew Craig. What the father had inherited of alco- 
holic desire I know not, he never spoke of it. Perhaps he 
had just been caught in the man-trap at the comer, the 
tavern, that low-shouldered corral of bricks and mortar that 
somehow I likened to th« stockaded elephant Kheddas of 
India, or the buffalo corrals of the western plains wherein 
Indians slaughtered the vast prairie herds. 

To me the bait in this place was more repulsive than 
alluring; examples of its destructive force were so ever 
evident. The whisky soaks— as the habitual bar loafers were 
called— were always about. And the tavern itself! How 
could its bare wooden floors, its long oaken bar, its walls, 
unadorned except by cheap lithographs and innumerable 
bottles, allure or hold any man who had any semblance 
of a home. Surely the poorest, most humble cottage in lona 
should hold more of comfort or human companionship. And 
there was always some wrangling, uncouth, foul-mouthed, 
drink-enraged workman declaiming against his master, or 
the country, or the government, perhaps against his God. 
A possibility of shunning part of this intolerable element 
was afforded by little, square, dim-lighted rooms that were 
like cells in a jail. It would be in one of these minor 
spider parlors that Craig the father, and now Craig the 
son, would sit beside a little table and drink. Far better 
the open bar, for, in weak moral cowardice, each member 
of the little party must keep his end up-^nust call for an- 
other round. 

30 



The Lone Furrow 



Altogether it was a problem stupendous, beyond the 
power even of the Kirk. I had held aloof from it, knowing 
an incompetency even to advise. But isolated, neither of it 
nor actively antagonistic, I was like an observer of a game of 
chess, the weak moves from both sides were apparent. 

I had watched Neil Munro's fierce assault upon this 
dominant evil. He had been a Ghazzi, a Peter the Hermit, 
quivering with passion, exhorting, pleading, denouncing, 
calling the wrath of God upon the apathy of those who 
mingled their whisky and their religion, seeking to vitiate 
the distaste of each with the other, swallowing the blend 
with unction. And what result? Deplorable. 

A thought of how Neil's sensitive soul must have known 
the depression of unavail fell upon me, and from that, fol- 
lowing the gruesome mood, recurred Malcolm Bain's awful 
hint of Niagara. Had Neil committed suicide? I drove 
the suggestion into the sod with my heel, tramped on it; it 
couldn't be! He held his responsibility to his Maker too 
majestically for that. But a man's mind, introspectively 
putting the case, no sooner downs a sophistry than it is up 
again in new form. Perhaps Minister had realized what 
Teacher had strongly hinted at, that his labors, too earnest, 
had but weakened the religious structure, caused the schism 
in the Kirk. Patently it had. Instead of standing shoulder 
to shoulder against the Evil One's strongest force, the con- 
gregation had split up — ^had come to squabbling over the 
plan of battle; half holding for the somnolent, undisturb- 
ing discourse such as had held them together during Doug- 
lass's fifteen years of ministiy; and the others all for bat- 
tling for the souls of the young men under the evangelistic 
banner of Minister Munra 

31 



nl 



The Lone Furrow 



And Neil was certainly . modem Paul, as enthusiwtic- 
ally fearless. Ah! but just that, the word, of Agrippa, 
Almost thou persuadest me to become a Christian." 
There was a dozen-* hundred Agrippas in the congrega- 
tion when they should nave been absolute Christians. That 
was It, fl/mox/-the word that meant everything in the 
Uevils tally. 

At this point in my thought the gate clicked. The 
Agnostic stood there and leaned his shoulders across the 
upper bar. "Have I disturbed you, Doctor?" he said in 
his quiet voice, catching my attention. " Were you busy? " 

"I was heavily in the mysteries of religion," I an- 
swered. " Come in ; I'm glad to be pulled out of waters too 
deep for me." 

"There's little mystery about religion," the Agnostic 
Mid, as I made room for him on the bench; " Chris Ampli- 
fied It much. It's just an intensifying of human love— I'm 
not saying but that there's mystery galore over the many 
doctrines m the Church interpretations of the law of crea- 
tion, or of God, or Pan, or whatever else we label it. But 
what started you on such a matter? " 

"When you've looked on the face of one dead, one 
you ve known mtimately, your mind carries the image away 
with It, and sets the pale mask up where sometimes we want 
to place the living." 

" Yes, man, I know! " The Agnostic's voice was a easp 
of pain. "^ 

I could have bitten my foolish tongue, for his wife was 
dead but a year ago, and I had forgotten. 

" I mean that Robert Craig was here a bit ago, and we 
were speaking of Neil Munro," I said hastily; "that way 
3» 



The Lone Furrow 



I was thinking of a toul's 



came the train of thauriit. 
deajh." 

" Aye, there may be such a thing, or worse j and if there 
w, I m afraid the poor lad's in for it. According to religion 
he IS, beyond doubt— the sins of the father exacting the 
penalty; and his chances of reformation are bad vl.-n Neil 
Munro could do nothing with him. But as fo; the oiher. 
Neil himself, its different. He just went down before his 
inends-the worst kind of enemies when they choose. Still 
I d rather take chances with him in his future— that is al- 
towing that there's a good and a bad future according to 
belief— than I would wish to hobnob with half of that 

''' .?^ ,f, ""*'''*'' '""'^''^ ''« graystone pile across the 
way. You 11 find less of denunciation in holy writ against 
the beaten down than against the unctious. self-complacent 
good. 

"Have you any idea. Major "-that was the Agnostic's 
name to us dwellers at the Hedge; to the village he was the 
Agnostic, on what ground was not apparent, for he was rich 
m his own conception of religion—" why Minister disap- 
peared so mysteriously, or at all ? " 

"Just a surmise; that's all anyone has-unless the poor 
wife knows." 

" She doesn't. What's your surmise? " 

"Defeated-^d he took it to heart. His judgment 
must have given way; he was a dreamer at best; he thought 
that Gods intent, explained, was a power stronger than 
Bacchus and Elder Holyman "-the Major jerked his thumb 
angnly first at the tavern and then at the tabernacle. 

"You see," he continued, "the village is domi-«ed by 
k«vo mterests-that's all there is here." He wa ged his 
33 



head from one tide to the other, indicatinE the two .tructure« 
of luch (eemins divergent interests. " People go to either 
one or the other— some go to both; they're the very danger- 
ous ones— the man on the fence is the unknown quantity. 
Neil knew all this. Wi.at Peter, or Paul, or Simon, or 
Noah, or Moses did was not so important in his sight as 
what men were doing in lona. But the men of lona "—the 
Agnostic frowned at the church—" would rather listen to 
the shortcomings or the grandeur of these ancients than to 
a rebuke of their own doings. I've seen it. I've taken cog- 
niiance of the fathers mounting those wooden steps to com- 
mune with God— some of th :m for a long sleep of it in the 
kirk over the sermon— while their sons were going to the 
devil by the fast express of the bottle. How many young 
men of the village, Doctor, come out worth the while of 
their being born— ten per cent? That's the way Munro 
looked at it, and how he fought it. He started the Athletic 
Club; he took the smaller boys and drilled them as soldiers, 
buying the wooden guns out of his own pocket; he organ- 
ized a cricket club, a literary association, debates, and all the 
rest of it, and what came of it? The MacLeans turned 
lona into a Glenco for the MacDonalds; the MacRaes way- 
laid the Kerrs, two to one, and battered them; they were all 
like the states of ancient Greece that took each other by the 
throats— and the elders held aloof and pitied ' daft Neil.' 
He worked too feverishly; India had sapped his vitality, I 
think." 

" And the pity of it is there are ugly stories going," I 
said. 

" I haven't heard them ; but I know the townies well and 
I'm sure Minister's condemned. He's like a gpod many 
34 



The Lone Furrow 



oftbc trouble ,. the tre«ing." he continued. "I like « 

wave another, for companionship.' I'd think him a fool 
«nd if I ate it he'd think me an ass." ' 

*; But what', to be done? " I queried. " It', not a one- 
man', job anyway, it', for the legislator,." 

-fU^u''^'\'^'T^' ''"• "'"■"'''•" ">« Agnostic declared; 

they had the 'Scott Act' here, closing the ban- and X 

mystery of it-the getting of a drink on'the ,ly the hfdd „ 

bottler cast ,uch an atmosphere of romantic adventure 
.^ut the bu,.n«, that the youth, went into it whoZl 
Th re are drunkard, to this day that can trace their no - 
tiate back 'o the ' Scott Act.' 

" If a law could be enforced for sending a man to jail 
for a year for slitting his brother's throat with a gll'" 

.2 f air "''• ; '■' """" "• ' '''"«'' "^ "hing In' 
got to go back to first prmciples-the survival of the fittest- 
drmk and pray and take chances; and my regards to Th,; 
place of busmess across the road." 

With a bow to the church, and " good day " to me the 
Agnostic was gone. ' ""* 

of It ""i-'l' ^"^ ^°' " "■■"'' ^"'^'"■"e <="""<'"»'y the play 
of the ,unh,,ht through the fretwork of maples. Where 
were we dnftmg anyway? I was like a horse in a Z 
he more I floundered the deeper I sank in this slough oi 
tf.ought; and a, a wise horse would have done under the 
arcumstances. I gave it up and lay still. I started playing 
35 



The Lone Furrow 



V ith Blitr, pulling hi$ tail, to the tune of a childiih thought 
that perhapt if men pulled dog*' uili more, and rearranged 
God'i work lest, they would be happier. 

Before I had finithed my writing that afternoon, the 
N|emsahib came to the ttudy and drew me to the window, 
I Mw Jean, the gray foldi of her dreaa almost hidden in the 
•howcr of floweri the children were tteadily pouring into 
her lap. 

Perhaps it wai the gold against the gray that caused 
the Memsahib to say: 

" Jean has laid away all her dresses but that somber 
one. She is having two others made from the same mate- 
rial." 

" I don't like that," I answered; " it's .Icpressing. She'll 
become melancholic." 

" No; it's just her way. With her it means constancy. 
She seems to feel instinctively that she is to be tried for many 
days." 

"How does she know— did Neil leave a letter? It's 
all nonsense anyway," I added, impatiently; "we'll soon 
know one way or the other— Minister will be found alive, 
or— he'll be found. A man can't hide himself like that in 
this busy world." 

" You reason, husband, as if you were laying out a gar- 
den, or planning a book, or making the rouj^ sketch of a 
landscape; those are matters of limitation; this is illimitable, 
because it is God's doing." 

" It's the unregenerate sleepers in the Church's doing," 
I answered shaiply; " either that or just the mad act of an 
ill-balanced mind." 

The Memsahib didn't answer except by a little sigh of 
36 



I'he Lone Furrow 



re«8j,«,on, which wu . tolcmnt rqiroof, «,d I .tud«d 
Jew. fwe hmned rg,in.t the flowing b^kground of the 

it^^LJ.. •?*".' ""'"^ •*'"'« '"^ extrtordiniry it wm. 
Undoubtedly .t bore resemblance to the f«:e of the Mtdonn. 
in the rnemor,.! window which exit the graystone wdl of 

h« held indefinable power, great eye,, pleading. .yn,p.. 
thetic. unchangeable eye,. Trj-ing to fathom them I lost 

he play of the sunlight when it turned to bronze the rebel- 
liou,ha,r. The Mcm«,hib', hand on my arm recalled me. I 
aAed her the question that had hung in waiting: "Jean i, 
beautiful. i.n t die? Strange I never noticed it before! " 

IWany men have, though." the Mem«hib whispered; 
T ^^l r"'"'*'' •>" '" »"■» B"nd. «,lemn way. And 
I had hoped that Jean might have cared for him-they'd 
have been a noble couple, but ' Dieu dispose.' " 

" He directed her love toward Neil Munro." I said 
tentatively. 

"Not a, you think of it. husband. I don't believe she 
loved Munro as she might have loved— Malcolm, for in- 
stance It was purely spiritual, her love for Minister." 
And the two are separable? " 

"Sometime* They were in Jean', case. With her it 
wa, r«l heroism. No, it waw't a sacrifice; she wa, per- 
fectly happy over it, she felt it was God's will. It was 
almost a purer thing than love such a, we generally know 
of. Jean wanted to be a Christian." 

" She is," I interposed. 

"Yea, the is. She determined to be; she thought that 
« greater thing than being just the redpient of a man', 
love. 

37 



The Lone Furrow 



The Memsahib was discovering to me what I had been 
searching for that lay so deep in Jean's wondrous eyes. 

"Jean suffered agony over her rebelhous thoughts about 
the inefficacy of God's power. I've always been an elder 
sister to her, and she has cried to me in bitterness over the 
unanswering of her prayers for her father and her brother. 
Simon Craig was a good man, noble in thought and deed, 
and yet Jean saw him drifting, drifting to destruction, saw 
the inevitable doom of the drunkard throwing its black 
shadow over his life. She saw her brother, a boy with the 
face of a god and the voice of an angel, developing into a 
dissolute dipsomaniac. Once she lay in my arms all night 
pleading with God, asking Him to take her young life, be- 
seeching the father and the son's Maker to give them 
strength, to save them from worse than death. She cried 
to me, and her despair was dreadful: ' Paul said that he died 
daily, but I die hourly— I die every minute of my life.' 
When there was seemingly no answer to her prayers she 
thought it was because of the very rebellion that was in her 
heart over the futility of God's power against the devil of 
destruction. Then, as you know, Neil Munro came from 
the mission field in India, and his magnetic earnestness, the 
soulful Christianity that burned in his impassioned eyes, in- 
spired Jean with a love that was wholly spiritual. She 
thought she saw a way to throw herself into God's work, to 
become absolutely a servant of the Lord. It must have been 
God's will, His mysterious way of working, for Neil from 
the very first was in love with Jean. They wen married- 
Minister was here but six months when they were married." 
" Well, it looks to me that if this is God's plan it has 
gone very much awry. Anyway the sacrifice did no good." 
38 



The Lone Furrow 



« A,,^"*" ' " ^«^"''«. it was ordained." 
All sacrifices are spoken of in just that wav And 
Jat face .s capable of such intense suffering, such'des^,^ 
my, anything ^ight happen if Jean lost hoU if she once 
became convinced there was nothing to live for/' 

h«h„ . iZ°V ~'"" *° """^ that-Jean will have her 
baby to look forward to." 

" Baby — what baby? " 

What"; S?7 ?'. ^^""'"'"'^ ~"" »"'"*' I "'"J«"»'»«l. 
What I had looked upon at first as an irritating happening 
Has broadening out into the whole scheme of the un^ri 

weakness, and constancy, and recreating 

.uJj.'^f""^ '". '"'"*';''' '"'"<*• »"'' '»>« Memsahib re- 
sumed: I wanted to talk about this to you, husband. Our 
duty ,s p lam, don't you think? We must ;ariy Jean unti 
either Ne.l comes back or the baby is bom. Sh7ca^ Hvet 

L^lh T r'.°"' """''• ^"' y°"' husband-Jean's 

bemg here, I mean ? " •' 

"No." 
. hW'"^'" '"'"^"* '^'* "" ^"■"■"B-" ^"l trouble you 
'■ No, it will help it; I'll think deeper. Humanity looms 

larger now than it did an hour ago. Even you " 

^ The Memsahib tiptoed up and kissed me on the cheek. 
You make me happy, husband. Come, quick, there's Mal- 
colm coming down the walk. It's just as well-it's better 
for him to always talk with you. It is too bad that the vil- 
tlSg " "^ ""'''""'»"'- •'"' *''v« eot to think of every- 

39 



The Lone Furrow 



Clutching my hat I hurried to the gate. 

" I'll not come in," Malcolm said, in answer to my invi- 
tation ; " I'm in a hurry. I've a power of work these days, 
I've taken on the report for the Meteorological Department 
in York. This weather isn't going to last," he added, break- 
ing off; " if the wind shifts to the southwest we'll have rain 
to-morrow." 

But he tarried a long time talking to me till I suspected 
tliat his hurry was a pure fabrication. For some reason he 
did not wish to come in. 

" I just called to teW Mrs. Cameron," he said, " that 
we've got a supply for the pulpit Sunday. It's only a stu- 
dent from Knox College, but it'll keep them quiet. There 
are some that would be willing to go without a sermon just 
to strengthen the feeling against Minister. But I wrote 
down to Dr. Monteith, and it's all arranged — unless we 
muddle it up like the men of Kintyre did." 

" I didn't hear of that, Malcolm," I said, as an invita- 
tion for the story, knowing it was apt to be droll. There 
was a subtle undercurrent of humor tickling the pebbles at 
the bottom of Bain's deep-water solemnity. 

" No, they're not talking much about it Kintyre way," 
Malcolm commenced. " It seems last summer Deacon Mac- 
Phail wrote to the Secretary of Knox college for a sup- 
ply. At the last minute, ministers being scarce, old Dr. 
Monteith went to fill the pulpit himself. He's a very 
learned man, but — his personal appearance suggests decay; 
mind you it's all a false alarm, for he's clear-headed enough, 
especially on theology. Well, when the Doctor went to 
Kintyre they didn't know him for the President of the col- 
lege, and he's a silent man, publishing more about God than 
40 



The Lone Furrow 



about himself, so they thought the Secretaiy had sent a 
superannuated minister just as a makeshift When the good 
Doctor went away thty voted his sermon very dull; they 
simply didn't understand it, man, that was the truth of it— 
« was too learned for them. But in a month Deacon Mac- 
PhaU was writing again for a supply, and he added a 
postscript: "Please don't send the old duffer we had last 
time." MacPhaU knew the Secretary personally, but he was 
away, and the letter came straight into the hands of Dr. 
Monteith himself." 

" Was he angry. Bain? " I asked. 

" Not a bit of it, he's too big a man for that. He wrote, 
sayuig he'd send his grandson, and he did— a student at 
Knox." 

Bain chuckled; so did I for that matter, picturing the 
long face of MacPhail. 

"There'll some of them be getting a surprise here, 
Im thmking," Malcolm added; "for there'll not be 
time to send word to everyone. They'U stay at home on 
their farms Sabbath, complaining about the drought in 
religion." 

" Any word of the lost man ? " I asked. 

" Not a word. I've sent a detective from Yock to Dun- 
dee to follow up any clews, and I've got a man at Niagara 
looking about. And, Cameron, would you mind taking a good 
look through the newspapers when they come to the house, 
and if there's anything— well, Mrs. Cameron would know 
how to break it? I've told them at the oflice to send tele- 
grams to you direct." 

" You're very thoughtful. Bain." 

" I believe the wind is shifting," he said, holding up his 
i 41 



The Lone Furrow 



hand critically; "it's working around to the southard. 
There's a lot of wheat nearly ready to cut, and hot sunshine 
is what's wanted. Well, I'll be going home." 

My eye followed Bain's massive figure with curious in- 
quiry. Perhaps it was his powerful physique that made his 
delicacy of thought appear the more beautiful. 

In the evening the Memsahib came into my study say- 
ing: " Have you got the papers yet? Hadn't you better get 

them and look through them before ? " 

I clutched my hat and hurried to the village store and 
astonished the dealer by .my indiscriminate taste for litera- 
ture this t-vening; I wanted all the papers. 

" Yn.. re just like the others, man," he said. 
"How is that?" I asked. 

" Well, you're a Toiy, and you're takin' home the Liberal 
organ, the Globe, to read. Are you gettin' on the fences- 
is there any word of a turnover in the Government ? I never 
saw the like. Here's Postmaster MacKay buying a Liberal 
organ, a man that for thirty years has sworn by the Con- 
servative's Bible— the Mail. I never knew him to do such 
a thing before, never. I'll just have to rearrange all my 
customers— I'll be getting my supplies mixed. Up to now I 
could just take the voters' list and tick thsm ofi, Liberals and 
Conservatives, and order their party organs without askin' 
what they'd have. It's fair confusing. Anyway I'm sold 
out-^rou've got the last paper. And I never saw such dili- 
gent desire for readin' in lona before. There must be some 
hint of Government change with a possibility of office for the 
hungry ones." 

I left the dealer in his mystification, but I knew quite 
well why this demand. Like myself, the good people would 
42 



The Lone Furrow 



search diligently all the papers looking for news of the lost 
minister. 

Indeed, opening the Gloht as I hurried back, a headline 
startled me. "A man fo md dead," it read; and then, 
Looks like suicide! Body cast up by the waters of Lake 
Ontario." 

I read with feverish interest. I stood outside the gate 
to cull the dread secret all by myself. But the description 
relieved my fears, it was not Neil. " Five feet three," while 
Mmister wag tall— slender and tall, nearly six feet. That 
was all the paper held, just that shadow of a fear, but I 
realized now how deeply we sat in the gloom of Jean's 
trouble. I had promised the Memsahib something, bravely 
enough, but what a task— what a vista of restraint over 
thought and deed was opening up. 

The children saved the evening from being absolute 
gloom. I had got into a pessimistic, morbid mood, and the 
Memsahib was tired. 

We were somewhat of opportunists at the Hedge, irra- 
tional as to rules, allowing hunger to dictate the meal hour. 
Chiefly my doing, this, causing the Memsahib distraction and 
the villagers play for ridicule. I was the one man in lona 
who had dinner at night, a grotesque unconventionality that 
appealed to them as something akin to the wearing of a silk 
hat. 

There was always an hour of unbridled license in my 
study after the evening meal; from seven to eight a group 
of Bedouins carried on a jirhad against decorum and order. 

The Memsahib tickled the keys of the piano with rag- 
time touch, or droned it till it wailed like a bagpipe, and the 
chQdren, led by Doo-doo, indulged in what they were pleased 
43 



The Lone Furrow 



to call dancing. This wat the very mildest manifestation of 
youthful exuberance; there were other less decorous perform- 
ances. But it kept us all just children, and we had in my 
study the Pool of Water of Life that Ponce de Leon had 
explored Florida for. 

But this night the children knew, and the piano knew, 
and the little ones sat like mice on the big sofa, their eyes 
wide and round in solemn half-comprehension, and I read to 
them " The Knight's Tale of Palamon and Arcita." 

At eight o'clock Jean came by the longest kisses, and 
the double allotment of kisses ; in fact I was almost forgot- 
ten — ^hardly included. That was the way we were taking 
up our load, even to the smallest; and yet, strangely enough, 
it was not a burden at all, we were eager for it. 






CHAPTER III 

|HEN I awoke in the -mine I tasted the 
bitter ash of regret in my soul. In active 
combat against sorrow there was « stimulus 
born of action; but this Sabbath morning 

LI J T ..I *°""*' "* '" *•"' depression of exhausted effort. 
«ad I really been m deep sympathy? 

__ "I shall not go to church t.vday.» I said to the Memsahib. 

l^istenmg to a student would make an infidel of any man " 

Blitz, hearing my voice, had come smUing into the room. 

u"^ fj" •:«= *'""ked at nie when I said this, for he knew 
tiie fields with all the joy they held would be our portion. 
He rolled at my feet in delight as I laced the heavy walking 
boots that carried the history of tramps through beech woods 
and prowls by the banb of running biDoks written in the 
delicate language which his fine nose alone might read. 
Those boots held not the decorous association of pews, and 
now he would not have the patient, sad wait, in a window, 
watchuig for my return from service. 

As I loitered lazily after breakfast, the Memsahib turned 
me out of doors, saying: " Please get clear of the village be- 
fore the people go to church. It doesn't look quite right to 
be meeting them." 

45 



The Lone Furrow 



Also Blitz was beckonine me forth, making great biui- 
nets of opening the gate with his paw. 

Quite solemn and circumspect, as befitted the Sabbath 
hush that was over everything, I went the length of the 
village street. But my companion, not holding to the moral 
responsibilities of the day. thikarried cats. There are cats 
in the village at all times, but Sunday morning there is a 
double allotment. Perhaps this is beoiuse the boys are at 
Sunday school, or are restricted on the Sabbath. Blitz 
chases them, that is all ; he has not caught one in the five 
years of his life here — yes, once; but that time it was two 
cats, and they caught him. 

As I reach a bridge spanning the railway track, 
I congratulate myself that I have been too early for 
the church people, and have avoided all offense. Alas! 
I am premature in my satisfaction. Mrs. MacRae, 
worthy body, and earliest attendant, half checks as 
we meet, and says, " Good morning, Dr. Cameron ; are 
ye lost?" 

I've no doubt whatever but that she firmly believes this 
is the condition of my future. Then she adds with a Scotch 
delight of torture, " I was no' knowin' there was ony preach- 
ing out in the country." 

" Oh, yea there is," I answered. 

" An' who's the meenister? " 

'• Pan." 

Mrs. MacRae pinched her chin, and her brow wrinkled 
over this that was evidently aberration. 

" Aye, aye! Good morning. Dr. Cameron," and she was 
gone. 

Blitz winked at me in commendation, and I am sure he 
46 



The Lone Furrow 



had my repartee quite ai well a< the sood lady who had im- 
paled me. 

But ihe had an afterthought, stoppine me just as I turned 
away. 

"Who's takin' the service— have ye heard?" implying 
that if I had the information it would be casual. " Is ther« 
ony word o' Meenister yet? " she continued. 
" None." 

"Aye, aye I It's a dreadful affair altogether." 
Then it occurred to me, too late, that I should have 
taken the road sooner, allowing for the Scotch curiosity that 
would draw the church members earlier this day for a bit 
of gossip before service. 

But presently we had come into the sweet outer 
world, dear of the prison v/alls that held humans, with 
their insecure hold upon gentleness, the rich fruitage of 
existence. 

I floated along (in reality I walked) between the field* 
of burnt gold, wherein rustling wheat whispered to the 
wind secrets of the ground dwellers— the moles and the 
beetles and the slugs that had their holdings down in the 
depths of the gold-tasseled forest. Then the bronze turbans 
of the grain gods faded into the gray-green of hay meadows 
where the slender-penciled timothy, patridan and of high 
caste, topped its brother, the fuU-bodied clover, a commoner 
of good living, sensuous, sweet of breath, wine-colored and 
cream-tinted of blossom. Star-eyed daisies, holding thrir 
pale cheeb all day to the kiss of the sun and turning thdr 
curved throats from east to west lest they lose one glance 
from the god of warmth, flooded the meadow like a milky 
way. 

47 



The Lone Furrow 



Not detoUte in ttillncM the field, but a dty of joyout 
folk. Boitterou* crickets lang Bacchanalian longi; and 
artisan bee*, turned pillagers, hummed lazy slumber songs 
u they looted wax from the defenseless flowers, till their 
thighs bulged like saddlebags, and pumped from the hearts 
of the clover nectar for a long winter's carouse. Grasshop- 
pers, lean as greyhounds, poised in the air like kingfishers, 
sending the music of their shrill little pfiSaries far over the 
heads of the dwellers. 

Far up the strip of bare earth the road, that was like a 
ribbon slit from tassa silt, a cloud of dust spiraled upward, 
and in the center of its ghostlike holding I could see the 
heavy heads of toil horses. 

" People of order are coming, behave 1 " I said to Blitz; 
for on the first limb of a thorn tree, laden with green haws, 
sat a red squirrel, scolding back saucily at the frantic little 
white animal that jumped and yelped beneath. 

"Is there any service. Dr. Cameron?" the driver of 
the wagon said, pulling up beside me. " I heard there was, 
but you're no headin' for the kirk." 
" There is service," I answered. 
" Ony word o' Minister yet— is he back? Is there any 
truth in what they're saying up the line? " 

" He's not back. I don't know what they're saying up 
the line, but I'm sure it's not true if it reflects on Minister 
Munio." 

"Just that— aye, aye! that's what Maggie was saying." 

And Maggie, looking very happy that we were on the 

same side, beamed upon me and chimed : " No one'll make 

me believe that Minister wasn't a good man. He trod a bit 

hard on their corns — that's what's troubling them." 

48 



The Lone Furrow 



But the huibud, Angu* MkLcm. had gathered up his 
rein^ and, at they iped away, I dipped through a portal of 
the meadow ciqr wall. Huge and gnarled, like .tranded 
devilfiA, were the giant pine itumpi that, shoulder to shoul- 
der, fenced the meadow from the roadway; the storm- 
bleached roots, evil-twisting, outlined against the blue sky 
like a cartoon of Dore's. 

A. my rude feet thrust ruthlessly at the heart-shaped 
leaves of the clover, diminutive grasshoppen, lemon-green. 
POMessed of Gulliver's many-leagued boott, shot like tiny 

K w ""T "'' "'* "'" '«'• *°'^""' • P'n« *«><«. which 
the Memsahib, who was fond of christening everything, had 
named "Toilers' Paradise." 

Behind me on the roadway another doud of dust was 
Idly moving viUageward ; but I had escaped its raisers. No 
more questions to conjure up the treacherous spirit of doubt 
that the sunshine and the l:elds were laying low. 

Beneath the pines are couches for a regiment,' a thousand 
men, soft-trussed by the dead needles. I threw myself down 
m luxuriant abandon; I lighted my pipe defiantly; while 
Blit« ransacked the undergrow for prey. His energy is 
wasted, for in the torest live none so foolish as to yield 
themselves to his clamorous, scurrying onslaught 

Presently the Gentleman of the Black Stock, with meas- 
ured swoop of wing, sidles in from the open, an . perches 
above me. I am something for his morbid curiosity. The 
crow preens his Wrvblack head, and shafts of sunlight are 
alchemized mto a fUagree of copper and gold, and jewels of 
turquoise and sapphire and ruby in his mirroring coat He 
IS a comely viUain, complacently self-satisfied. Of me he is 
suspicious. 

49 



The Lone Furrow 



" Aw-ww-w there I " he ncUiim, ind wutt for me to 
explain my pretence. 

I wwwer nothing, but in f«ncy interpret hit hmnnie 
M, Rooked you, did they ? " 

Doe» he think I «m come here in despair to hide from my 
unfellow-men? Perhapg he knowi of thi« lort of thing. A 
(udden chiUing thought itrike* at my heart. Shall I never 
more get away from the que$b'on«? Have I eicaped from 
the churchgoer, to come by the gruefome luggettiont of this 
prowler? Hai he leen some one itricken to madnen lay 
himielf down to the rest of Nirvana? 

In a rage I hurl a stick at the prating fool, and he weaves 
•way through the heavy pattern of somber green, sending 
back a harsh laugh of derision. I spring to my feet possessed 
of this gloomy fancy which the crow's carrion laugh hu 
bred, and search the pine wood for something I do not want 
to find. 

It U but a mild frenzy. Was not the missing man seen 
at Dundee? Doubt answers. " That was just a rumor." 

Then my memory reads on its hidden page two records, 
black-bordered, that are akin to this gruesome thought. A 
year ago o.ie wearied to insanity had been found in the little 
river where it brawls down from the mountain; and Trout 
Lake, just a pond, had held the solution to the other mystery, 
yieldmg its answer to the grapple hooks. 

I find nothing but a big patch of sunlight; the rotunda 
of the pine wood, breast high with raspberry bushes, ruby- 
studded with fruit And here are the guests gossiping, and 
no doubt criticising one another's manner of dress; robins 
that have taken voice culture, and a bluejay that needs it, 
with his harsh repellant rasp. A songi^arrow hails my ap- 
50 



The Lone Furrow 



peirance with a trill of merriment; and Blitz, bounding i,-„ 
the brunblet, nuie* a cloud of pudgy little bird*. 

The iunlight it good, it warm* my marrow, it people* 
my mind with thought* of thing* living. 

I look at my watch ; one o'clock I and the roa«t i. timed 
for half put one; I can ju>t make it. 

Spurred by thought of the Mem.ahib'* reproach, I .tretch 
my leg., ahortcutting it through a puture field, the pile of 
"t. velvet carpet clo.e.*horn by the firm lip, of cow. till it 
I* like an antique Pertian rug. 

A. I clamber over the high rail fence that i. weathered 
to purple, I miM Bl.tr, and. .itting atop the upper rail, I 

tt'Sd. "' "' '"^^ "''""" •"'"•" •« ^™™ •'•«='''•" 

I call and whistle unavwlingly; then, full of anger, and 
also feanng that perhap* he i. caught in something, I hasten 
b«k ,,,er my trail. Behind a little grassless mound of earth 
Blitr, stubby white tail is showing dear of a ground hog's 

fZT/' J^""'' t r** "'"^" ^y *« ''«'v«'s paws 
i**u« from between his hind legs. When I speak he un- 
earths long enough to look up in approval of my return, 
«^d then worms his body into the burrow like a cork in » 
bottle. But It IS no time for .hUarri. so I hook the crook of 
my walking stick m his collar, and away we go 

IS old Mr,. Paislqr', antique buggy, and also andent horse; 
knS. believe that part of the creaking comes from hi. 

Now she hu checked her wingles, Pegasus as I step to 
one side, and asks, "Will you have a lift. Doctor?" 
SI 



The Lone Furrow 



After all I shall surely be in time now, I think, as I 
damber to a seat at her side. 

" You've been up to StonehiU for church, I suppose. It's 
a long dnve, four mUes, just for service," I say. 

" I dinna mind it; if it was fifty I'd rather make it than 
•It by yon screeching whustles in our own kirk." 
Pais'l'^""'* '*"" "°'«»n<:a«l to the organ then, Mrs. 

"Aye, just that, un-ree<onciled. That's well put. Doc- 
tor. And Im thinking the Kirk itself is un-reesxHicfled 
judpng o the peck o' trouble has come tae it." 

1 >""T" V^"* *' °'^" ^* *° •'° "''^ *"' Mrs. Pais- 
c Lu ■ I "^'"^ '^''" » tenacious, bitter thing the 
Scotch antipathy was. For ten years the old body had trav- 
eled evenr Sabbath to Stonehill rather than enter her own 
church that had so far lapsed from grace as to echo to the 
sounds of an organ. 

" Weel, it has to do wi' it in this way," she said— as the 
old horse ««med inclined to stop to listen I surreptitiously 
prodded his thigh with my walking stick, for I was in a fair 
way of being too late for dinner after all—" it's just « visita- 
tion, or proof of Biblical truth," Mrs. Paisley continued; 
Its the sins o the faethers visited on the children. It was 
J««n Craig's faether-and a stifiE-neck he - «. too, when he 
tuk a notion-that was the insteegator o' puttin' yon Devil's 

the kirk through dnnk, d'ye ken; fiddling and singing «,d 
dancing go together, and there was all o' that doon tae the 
Uvem at the corner and naething but dry leleegion at the 
fark, so It had to be changed. Craig gave fifty doUan toward 
the organ hunsel'. And d'ye ken this, Doctor, I've heerd it for 
52 



The Lone Furrow 



the truth, yon same man, old Craig, refused tae contreebute 
tae the mission funds "-the old lady lowered her voice, and 
added, almost in a whisper-" old man Craig said, when 
thqr gang tae hun for a subscreeption, that the Pagans in 
India who worship graven images were better Christian- nor 
the members of our ain congregation. Wasn't that enourij 
tae nie the Lord, Doctor? It would rUe onybody— it did 
me when I heard it He was a* for new-fangled notions, 
putting yon gaudy window in the kirk too. I dinna ken 
what that cost him, something awfu' the price, I believe— it 
would ha'e bought hundreds o' Bibles for the beni^ted 
Pagans. When I used tae attend, afore the organ came, 
just the smattering o' the sun through a' them gaudy lights 
glowered me eyes so I couldna discern a body in kirk- I 
couldna- make out a MacPhail frae a Graham-their i^ 
just blotches of blue and yeUow like pictures o' goriUas 
more than Christians." 

Steeped in her favorite narcotic, the theme of the organ, 
Mrs. Paisley, to my pleasure, had forgotten the newer trou- 
We. I was congratulating myself, for she had a prying 
tongue, when she broke vigorously through my complacency, 
exdaunmg: 

"Man alive! I was near forgetting to ask if ye had any 
word o the Meenister. Mrs. Lancey, at StonehiU, wa* 
telling me there was a body found in the Welland Canal, 
and the descreeption o* it was vera like Meenister." 

I' Why should he be in the canal? " I asked petulantly. 

Aye, just thati A strange place for Meenister sure 

enou^. I told her I didna believe it. But then, again, 

Doctor, the man must be somewhere, and if he's no in the 

canal, where is he, say I? There's just been naething but 

53 



The Lone Furrow 



trouble for the CnuBs ever tince that organ waf insteetuted. 
The old man Craig died in drink, and the son, Robert, will 
die the same way— God forbid! but he will. And Jean, she 
was the best o' the lot, she has her ain trouble noo. I was 
often wondering. Doctor"— she turned and searched my 
face with her small, gray eye*—" whether it was objecting 
tae Ae organ kept you from attending kirk— you dinna go 
often. Ha'e ye ony scruples that way yersel' ? Because if 
you ha'e ony I could gi'e ye a lift tae service at Stonehill 
every Sabbath— there and back." 

While I decline this' kind offer we turn a comer and are 
jogging down the village street. It is deserted. From 
each dweUing issues a tell-tale odor of the day's fare. Blits's 
nose is in the air; so is mine. At the little brick cottage it is 
roast pork, I wiU swear; from the large graystone where 
dwells the keeper of our general store, comes the respectable 
announcement of roast beef. 

Something of village smartness creeps into the old horse's 
mind; he pricks up his ears, and we rattle down the main 
street— it is really downhill— at almost an unseemly gait on 
the Sabbath for people who frown upon the organ. 

After all I am a little late. I plead the episode of the 
ground hog, but the Memsahib says dryly, " Oh, yes; blame 
it on Blitz." 

She has met me at the door and adds, " I have brought 
Malcolm Bain home for dinner." 

The dining table, fitted to seven, is lengthened by an 
extra leaf, which gives an air of unusual formality. 

For the first time since I have known Malcolm Bain I 
notice a change in him. He is a big man physically, even 
mentally, and now his hands appear to trouble him— ti ey are 
54 



The Lone Furrow 



m the way— they are too large even for his width of shoul- 
der; he is embarrassed, awkward. Perhaps my perspective 
has been deranged by the elegant small-fry of the fields. 

" I was glad you were not at church this morning," the 
Memsahib said. 

" So was I," I answered, " for it is glorious out in the 
fields to-day." 

" We had such a. trying sermon," she continued. " The 
Supply was just a boy; he read his sermon, and was so nerv- 
ous that we could hardly hear a word. Poor Teacher 
Harfcett nearly fainted when he rose and in a small, squeaky 
voice gave out the wrong hymn." 

• .'.'J**' ^"* "'''" "'*^* ^^' commotion in the choir, was 

It? ^ Bain asked. " I thought the organ had broken down." 

We got through it some way or other, but it was dread- 

ftil. In her nervous excitement Miss Hs'.ikett plunged into 

die tune of ' Art Thou Weary,' while the congregation cheer- 

fully sang to it from the number the minister had announced. 

Onward Christian Soldiers.' " 

" It must have been a rare entanglement, a little worse 

than^ usual," I suggested. " What did the choir do? " 

" I think some of us took part with the congregation 
whUe some followed the organist. It sounded like that. 
Teacher was ready to cry from sheer nervousness. You 
know she lays out the choir chairs according to the pattern 
of the carpet— don't laugh, it's quite true-she's awfully 
fu«y, and this morning they were all wrong; it was just 
trying to one's own nerves to watch Teacher's misery." 
__ "I'm afraid I came by little good myself," Bain declared. 
Amateur theology is like unripe fruit— children may take 
it without harm, but it doesn't agree with older folk. DiV 
55 



The Lone Furrow 



crimmation is a sad handicap, it limits one's enjoyment; 
nothing but the best we're wanting, and that's not always to 
be come by." 

" Student preachers are a great lottery," I suggested, just 
to fill a void left by Bain's suddenly stopping in embarrass- 
ment as though he felt he had said too much. 

" There was little time to arrange for a supply. Next 
Sabbath—" again Malcohn hesitated in affright; he had 
blundered. But he struck out bravely, adding, " Next Sab- 
bath we'll have our own minister back." 

I looked at Jean. Mer face was quite white, but I be- 
lieve there was a look of gratitude in her eyes. 

Kippie broke the awful silence that had come upon us, 
taking advantage of it to say, " I 'member the text, Mudder." 
Mentally I promised Kippie five cents over this relief, and 
ihe Memsahib seized upon the opportunity with avidity, say- 
ing, coaxingly, " That's a good girl ; can you repeat it? " 
The L'ttle one smiled bashfully. 

"You've forgotten it, Kippie," I taunted, making the 
most of the situation. 

" Show Father that you haven't— quick, before the pud- 
ding is brought in! " Memsahib encouraged. " What was 
it now? " 

" ' Divide with us, for the day is far spent' " 
It was indeed cruel to lauj^ at a little child's mistake, 
and sinful because of the subject, but I declare that a smile 
hovered for a second about even Jean Munro's lipa. 

In my mind I doubled Kippie's reward ; and her mother 
said fntly, " It's a-bide with us, darling." 

Jean put her head down and kissed Kippie, si^ng, " You 
»weet angel! " 



The Lone Furrow 



I felt that Bain was eager to beat a retreat, to when we 
rose I carried him off to the lawn for a smoke. 

" I made a fine mess of it," he lamented when we were 
alone. 

" It was a dangerous subject," I answered. " We should 
have talked about the weather." 

" The weather is an interesting study," Malc6hn added 
solemnly. "This church trouble is taking up so much of 
my time just now that I've lost all track of a storm I was 
following from Dakota. It was due here to-day, but it may 
have gone south of the lakes." 

" There is no trace at all of Minister? " I asked, 

" None." 

" It's strange." 

"Yes." 

I told Bain what I had heard from Angus MacLean 
about the gossip up the line. 

"Yes, I've heard it— the hounds!" he answered bit- 
terly. 

" What is it, it can't be money ? " 

"What they're always ready to accuse a good-living 
man of." 

" 111 living," I suggested. 

"Yes." 

" But it's a black lie," I declared. " He worshiped his 
wife— and weU he might, one of the sweetest women that 
ever lived." 

" She is that And Munro was as good ; but he was not 
as strong as might be— I don't mean morally— he was a wee 
bit weak in the fiber, he couldn't last out against the Phil- 
istines; he was brave enough in the attack, but they just wore 
5 57 



The Lone Furrow 



him out by taking no heed — turning the other tough cheek 
of indi£Eerence for him to smite at." 

" Still if he wa$ brave — and he was — he wouldn't go 
away and leave " 

" No, that's the mystery of it There's only one expla- 
nation — he was deranged. And if he was that, God knows 
what he mightn't do with himself." 

" But if he had made away with himself, it would be 
known — he'd have been found." 

" And if he were alive there'd be some trace of him, I'm 
thinking. We're searching everywhere. He didn't cross 
Niagara, I know." 

" Well, it can't be for long, this terrible suspense; it will 
be settled one way or the other soon." 

" I hope so. I'll fight to keep the pulpit vacant for him, 
but there're some that'll fight hard the other way; they were 
against him." 

" Yes, you must do that, Bain. While the Church waits 
for his return, as it were, it'll keep alive hope in the wife's 
heart. I'm sure that if they extend a call to another min- 
ister, she'll think they consider him dead." 

" I'll keep it open," Bain answered, and his head sat on 
his strong neck like a picture of a grim Covenanter. 

" Are you going? " I asked as he rose. 

" Yes, if you say good-by to Mrs. Cameron and Mrs. 
Munro for me. I want to have a bit walk, and I think 
there'll be rain before night. Yon mackerel sky presages a 
change." 



58 





CHAPTER IV 

lOMEHOW I was dreading the evening. 

The July night glided in with a silencing 
depression. The trident leaves of the maple 
rustled in a faint listlessness above the sleeping 
lilac hedge. The sky that had glowered red 
m the wake of the setting sun was now blurred by a vast 
cloud that menaced a storm. 

Across the roadway worshipers passed up the church 
Steps and through its Gothic doorway in a continuous file- 
they were like a flock of sheep seeking the evening fold. 
Many of them turned their eyes curiously the way of Lilac 
Hedge. 

I w'as glad the Memsahib had elected to stay at home, 
for I felt mcapable of consolation. 

In the hammock, shielded by the hedge from the eyes of 
the churchgoers, Jean Munro had about her a little court 
of sympathy— the children. 

Presently the Memsahib came to the door and called 
eagerly: 'Come here, John, quick; Cricket is back. He's 
chirpmg on the hearth in your study." 

The children jumped up with joyous cries: "Oh, the 
cricket ! gpody, goody ! Come, Aunt Jean, and hear Cricket." 
59 



ii 



The Lone Furrow 



Very quietly we itood in the h«llw«)rMdli«tened. There 
he WM, M joyful w « landboy, " Creak, creak, creak! " 

Then we went back to the lawn, and Memsahib told 
Jean at great lenjith all about Cricket Of courM it was to 
draw her mind from the dread and misery. 

" That means good luck," Memsahib explained. " We 
haven't heard him for a long time now. We were afraid 
he had got killed or frozen up, or something, last winter. 
He s been with us for three or four year*— we're sure it's the 
same one." > 

" Of course it is," I interposed. 

" Oh, yes," Doo-doo affirmed ; " no strange cricket would 
be so wise; he wouldn't know us as old Creaker does." 
• ""*„"°" to us in the oddest way," Memsahib con- 
tinued. A load of hay was going down the lane to the 
stable, and he got brushed o£E against the kitchen shutters. 
He lives most of the time in the old fireplace in the kitchen 
— it never has a fire, you know." 

" But he wanders all over the house," I added. " Tell 
Jean about Sarah saving him when he was shipwr-cked." 

•Thr children laugh at this weak attempt at facttiousness, 
and Memsahib tells the simple story. " Saiah found him in 
the bath floating about on the water. He must have been 
after a drink ; he was nearly drowned, poor little chap ! She 
took him to bed with her, and in the morning he was perched 
on her pillow, quite chippy." 

"And Blitz won't touch him," Doo-doo added; "Blitz 
knows he belongs to the house. He'll just go up and sniff 
at Creaker when he sees him on the floor." 

" He's our mascot, our four-leafed clover, our found 
horseshoe "—I was preparing the way for a clever little plot 
60 



The Lone Furrow 






.hoid rr •"''.'••"'^^"Kht « Klin,p« of. for Cricket 
depr«.on. I c«t .bout .n my mind for enl.rpnK correl- 

r. .1. T " "^^ •"'='• ■ ""y °*«t to huge Black 

.« il """ "* *''" .tory-building faulty. I even 

LT^ch!"" "" '' ^"™" "" " -PP^i". »ub,unr«i" 

"At the Hedge here," I «ud, " we're » much people of 

lucky omen, m the nature worrfiipers in Burma. There they 

have the tucktaw.' a mo5t repulsive-looking lizard. a» rep. 

re«ntmg the god of good luck in a household. If this lizard 

crawl, about the wall^though he i, generally in the leaf 

«of--catch,ng flies, and occa«onally uttering hi, dismal 

Tuckuw-w. tucktaw-w-wf nine times, the dweller, will 

remain happy, feelmg that their household gods will come 

10 no evil. 

..hZ""" " ' *"" ?'"e"-Jean surprised me with this 
«dden «press.on. "And you have Cricket as a tuckuw. 

" y*» : '"f we we in for a run of luck now that he has 
come-back. Last year he helped me wonderfully to write a 

Doo-doo laughed outright. I was sure that Jean was 
smiling at this oddity. 

a s^idplS'*" ^'"^' "' """ "'' °"" '"'' '"^^y' """P^E 1'"^' 

" Do Mndpipet, sing. Father? " Doo^oo. who take, na- 
ture study at Khool. asked. 

'• I don't know." I anwered. " but Cricket did." 
And your book was successful-I heard a great deal 
■bout It," Jean commented. 

6t 



The Lone Furrow 



" It rdly wasn't "-I forgot the real trenJ of the good- 
luck arKument enoufh to lay—" it fell very flat " 

The Men«ahib interpwed with an expian.tion-.he al- 
w«y» had one when my work failed. " La»t year wu the 

r.'l!? "' "■! ''r?'.'"' "^'^ "■«' *» ♦•« "«* »' »»>« indmtry 
or"S" "" ' """^ *" *^" ^'"''"•"*- ^' ^»* '°° 

editor I .ubmuted ,t to gave a. rea«,n for declining it that 
he wanted stones of people with clothe, on." 

I love animal stories best of all." Doo-doo cried en- 
th«s.utically ; " «,im.ls are lovely. Father won"l« « S 
even a .p.Je, « the Hedge; and now I'm not a bit afraid 

h.v?r»K »'* '"""' ^' ^'^"' ^*'^' •"«• I "'-"Id 
ZZ *' "'""'^ •=•«» ■" the vaiage. Even Blitz won't 
touch my Ltten now. He killed the fint one I brought 
ho««. naughty dog! I cried. Do you like hens. Aunt 

" Roasted, Doo-doo." 

If ««.ebody had suddenly blared away at me with a shot- 

Z^ZT " '^''',\'^''^^ »'- been less astonished. 

Sf T JT ""*''• ^ '"'• '""''' '^^'^^ «"««"fh left t.; 
Uugh. The hen. were an inspiration. 

"FiL"Tf'T '^"f '° ^'" ^^^'^ «P'«!"«I- 
the ^nLr ^"^'".^'f *^«» « ««tinB time. They're 
the s.ll.« creature. ,n the world. There's one old m«her 

dmdful. She, fat and lazy-thaf. why Father named her 
the Dowager; ihc walb around molding and complaining 
about havmg to get up on a roost, and waits f" • • • " - 
then Dowager goes to one end 



62 



1 makes a lot of motions 



The Lone Furrow 



that ihe't coing to fly up. F.ther My« that Dowager Mys 
Witch me now, I'm Eoinj to fly I ' Then she maket tuch 
a row with her wingi; and when ihe't up ihe ttartt crowding 
and pecking and icolding— I luppote Dowager thinb the 
othen have the best placet— until ihe dears the whole long 
roott of every chicken. Then they fly up on the othen; I 
don t think they le^ very well in the dark. And luch a 
rowl 

How happily we were getting on. I waa ju»t making a 
mental note about a string of agate beads DookIoo had her 
eye on at the jeweler's, when, across the way, the organ 
pealed forth in the sonorous notes of the opening hymn. It 
hushed our chatter; it drove the brightness from Jean's 
eyes; it brought us from the pleasant gone days to the bitter 
present. 

Apprehensively I watched Jean. Perhaps of all the 
houn that had gone or were to come this, in the gloaming, 
with all that the church service suggested, would be the most 
bitter trial. 

After a time the student-minister's voice came fitfully to 
our ears. Carrying no words, it sounded petulant, like the 
strange articulations of a mute. 

Odd, isn't it," Memsahib said, " that we can hear his 
voice from across the street, when inside the church I \.as 
sure it didn't reach to the back pews." 

I was thinking how unlike it was to the full, rich voice I 
had listened to many Sabbath evenings from the lawn when 
Neil Munro thundered at the stiff-necked Scots. 

The quiet suggested sleep to the children, and when they 
had gone to bed our heavy silence seemed almost unbreak- 
able. I think we three sat with the one thought tenant in 
63 



The Lone Furrow 



our mindt, the unwelcome intnitive guat of Netl'» mytteri. 
oui fate, our eyee fixed idly upon the one object of interest in 
the lonber landxape of approaching night, the memorial 
wmdow in the church. 

.< T^"* '"'' conKioue of its full import the Memtahib laid: 
That window lighted up always give* me a feeling of peace, 
of rest, of lolace. The Madonna with the infant Jetu* in 
her lap teem* w far removed from eveiything but just the 
•dorable love that it in motherhood that I think of my own 
little onet. and forget triab which have teemed lo bitter 
through the day." 

" Yet, motherhood it the greatetc thing in the world," 
I advMced; "it it creation ittelf-that it, in itt highett 
jonxi, 

"If life were not a part of God Himtelf, a pultating 
manifettodon of the toul, thit engrotiing adoration of a 
mother for her chUd would be idolatrout," the Memtahib 
continued in a thoughtful way. " See how the Virgin scarce 
noticet the homage of the thepherds; the babe in her arm it 
eveiything, the whole world— even the absence of the father 
It not felt." 

The Memtahib ttopped awkwardly; her last wordt had 
Mtered. I knew they had thrown her into a confution. 
What thppery ice we traveled upon. But the came bravely 
to her own rescue, taying: "A baby wUl make a woman of 
a woman when nothing elie will; it will caute her to bear 
up againtt eveiything. I often think when I tee some of the 
women here who have been married two or three years, and 
have no children, fluttering about, trying to get up Uttle card 
P«rtiet or dancet, or something to kill time in what they 
ttyle thit duU old place,' that they would be far happier 
64 



The Lone Furrow 



•nd of more real uk in the world if they had children to 
intercit them." 

The orgu droned • gentle " Ar.en " to the Memtahib'i 
moet wue reflections on the »i«erI.,,oH. The prelude grew 
in volume; u it huthed again, a s.vfct tenor voice carried on 
the night air over the lilaci lin.-inif: 

•• • I hew thee tpeak of. better Und ; 
Thou cdleic the chii.lrrn i h«p, v b„,u j 
Mother, where U thii nditnt ihore I 
ShaU we not leek it and weep no niorc > 
U it where the flower of the or«ige blows. 
Or the firefliei duice through the myrtle bought I 
Not there, not there, my child.' " 

"I think Robert's voice grow* sweeter every day," Mem- 
sahib said, as the last words of the song died away. 

" He has the best voice I have ever heard," I added, just 
to drown a noise that was suspiciously like a sob. 

'' I think I will retire, Allis," Jean said, rising. " It's 
been so restful sitting here to-night I'm so glad that Robert 
IS singing in the choir again." 

"I'll go up with you to light your lamp, Jean," the 
Memsahib offered. 

When she came back she said: " It has done Jean good. 
She has sat for days dry-eyed until her soul was hot; but she 
has had a good cry now, and I think she'U sleep." 

I reached over and kissed the little woman on the fore- 
head, much as a tribute to her wise intelligence in going up 
to light that lamp. 

"Jean will think always now of the Madonna and the 
65 



The Lone Furrow 



Infant; it will keep her mind more on her own baby that 
will be a saviour to her." 

" And if anything does happen, if we come to know any- 
thing, we must keep it from her, wife, even if we have to 
teU lies." 

" Yes, we must" 

This resolve silenced us for a little; my thoughts were 
busy with an odd fancy that the blue-gowned Madonna's 
face was strangely like Jean's. 

The church door swung open, tossing out a square of 
yellow light; there was a shuffle of feet, and grotesquely 
shadowed heads blurred the blue gown of the Madonna. 
The worshipers came down the steps; their forms loomed 
large in the uncertain light, and then melted away. 

The flood of blue and crimson and goHcolored li|^t 
died out suddenly from the window, and the soaiber wall of 
the stone church stood silent and grim, like a ruined, lifeless 
cathedral, against the night sky. 

" It was Jean's father put that window in the church," 
the Memsahib said, as we entered the house, " in memoiy of 
Jean's mother." 




66 




CHAPTER V 




JEXT day the Memsahib suggested that I should 
encroach personally into Malcolm's life; that 
the observed friendship between us two men 
would cause his now often coming to the 
Hedge, to appear more of our masculine asso- 
ciation than a suggestion for gossip that Bain came because 
of Jean's presence with us. It was a delicate thought, alto- 
gether too subtle for the vandalic consideration of our coarse- 
fibered villagers, I feared. 

But I had myself, by this time, an itching desire to know 
Bain— to crackle the crust of his reserve. So that afternoon 
I said to him as he halted at my gate: " I'll walk along with 
you. Bain. My mind is clamoring for a game at words; 
this— as Shaftesbury calls it—' self-inspection ' is the father 
of moroseness." 

So we swung along together, our faces htJding the yellow 
blare of the sun in the west, for a half-mile to where Bain's 
square, red-brick home half hid its severe outline behind two 
giant locust trees. 

Bain thrust open an iron gate to a cinder path that stretched 
a narrow avenue, graced on either side by a broad-shouldered 
acacia hedge, to the white-piilared portico of the house 
67 



The Lone Furrow 



The spruce a|,d bal«un that interlaced their arms in a 
httle forest dothmg with an olive-green mantle the rounded 
br^st of a hdl that laved it, feet in a joyous burling b,tx,k. 
caged a cho.r of feathered songsters that piped and sang 

though there was nothing else in the world but cool sylvan 

'^^t, 7'^^1!^i ''"'"""'''■ ""^ J°^°"» outpouring, of 
thankfulness for all th.s happine« that was nothing but the 
*Mence of exi,tence. 

Bain caught an intuitive knowledge of my ab»rption in 
«*rth, panaceatic draughts of delight, for he led the way, 
.fartmg the huge quadrangle of bricks, to the brow of the 
h.11 beyond, where a bench, curiously fashioned in the gnarled 

ThSn 1 ^*°""°" "'^'' ^'' '^ '«""8 P'a«. from 
wh.ch I looked down upon a stream of molten lead and ,ilver 

and gold that ran .n fluid blend, from some crucible held 

J . ,"" " '""^"'"^ "P'«"'' '«y™'d- The brook 
leaped from ledge to ledge, a silver veil like that of Mah- 
mud, ^reenmg from view the fleshier rock beneath; then 
It swirled m a pool that hovered on butterfly wing, of tran- 
scendent beauty, gay in ft, azure and green and yellow and 
crimson festoomng a, a shimmering rainbow, or the color- 
dwled breast of a peacock. Fragment, of lacelike silver- 
work were tossed mto the sunlight from the unseen fingen 
of dfin artisans labonng in the caverns below. 

™v fo *™u V"'' ^T"'"^ ^'•" ^"'"'l" ''"■''. shattering 
my fancy with hi, realistic fact 

" dl^r!°rf°\^'' '"'''' ^""'^' " ""''"' °f expostulating 

chir-r-r-rhs!" from a startled red squirrel that had crept 

curiously to a zigzagging am, of the cedar above our heads. 

Cross, Patsy?" Malcolm asked, casting his eye up at 

68 



The Lone Furrow 



the bush-tailed chatterer. " He'd be down here on my knee " 
Ba.n explained, " if I wei« alone." ' 

;; What an innocent creature a «,u,rrel is," I observed. 

of the";e:i!tf t^ti,?" '''''''- ''^-'' "—' 

My e>-es showed surprise, and he continued: " Theyoune 
l^al eats the robins' eggs,- he's a prodigal, putting by'noth 
mg for a ramy day, a brigand. Yonder's his well-rather 

"HeculTh *;■ fT."^ :-«"■■"'» ^-b '-ndicated a maple. 
He cuts the httle l.mbs and drinto the blood of the tree- 

wh» th"""'"' ^^ '{^' ""^ *^ *«^ °f 'he robins, 

P^Z TJaT "l''"''"'' ^' '^"^' '^'"^ °"' -f the nest 
I'atsy IS bad clean through. Ah I " 

a Jlhll'^l''^""' ^^ ''"'' ''°^" *''™"8h the sunlight like 
^ph re hand grenade; and then from a spray of sparkling 
^ter ■ had sw,r ed upward again to the overhanging Umb 
of a patriarchal elm. 

"The Kingfisher!" Malcolm said-" gorging himself 
w.th a t.ny casket of life. Destruction is thf Iin,pri„7i; 

d«t™ " '^/!*'"'', ^r^«^'»"y- h^yond the sweep of the chief 
destroyer, Man all « peace and sweetness; actually, it is one 
P«t war. The martens drive out the sparrows, and the 
wren dnv« out the marten, and the black-hooded crow 
prowls, a thief and a murderer." 

Malcolm rose from the bench, and we turned back by 

ZSr„rT ."k"""* ''■':^' ''""" ""-"^ '■" 'he mottled 
mosaic of a Turkish rug. Our feet brushed the velvet cheeb 
of pansies that drooped their wealth of hue across our way 
«.d m our nostrils hung the tealike perfume that rolled in 
douds from a drape of crimson roses that hid the high house 

69 



The Lone Furrow 



A pair of robins hopped grotesquely in confident fear- 
lessness just beyond the string of pansy beads. 

" That's a hardy cock robin for you," Malcolm said— 
" the pair of them, in fact, for they stayed by me all winter. 

They're like a good many humans, though, after all they'll 

cleave so long as you feed them. I think the old robin took 
a delight in making himself believe things. He's a bit like 
the tiger, he'll only eat of his own kill— no dead meat for 
him. I used to hang ^ piece of fresh beef by a string, and 
the wind would keep it moving, and whether he thought 
it was alive, or made a pretense of so doing, I don't know, 
but he'd eat of it. Put the same piece on a board or on the 
ground, and he wouldn't touch it." 

We had passed into the house as Malcolm talked, and 
here again was the same simplicity softened to beauty by 
touches of color. 

I had pictured Malcolm's home as being like some of the 
others I had seen, wherein dwelt people allied to the soil- 
tiller's life; a furniture of utility; a decoration of limited 
art instinct and tuition ; a crude, barren savagery of taste, 
following in a picture the lines of hardness and crudity of 
color with geometric delight— carrying the value of a straight 
furrow into a massacre of curving lines of beauty: a godless, 
soul-depressing barrenness, suggesting a perihelion of habit- 
able environment, complement to an existence devoted tuAely 
to acquisition. 

We passed from a wide hall, the ring of our heels on the 
maple floor muffled in another step by the plush of a Turkish 
rug, to the subdued restfulness of a room paneled in walnut. 
Like faces peering from the distance in a Rembrandt, the 
holdings of the room crept gradually from the brown shad- 
70 



The Lone Furrow 



ow$ and claimed my eye. A piano; tawny bookcases, flicked 
soberly with deep red, and rich ochre, and emerald green, 
where the volumes rested on their shelves. 

Malcolm threw up a blind, and the light bathed a group 
of toilers in a wheat field eye-level on the wall. I knew the 
sweep of the brush that had fastened those pigments to the 
canvas. 

' A Reid I " I said, indicating the oil. 
" Yes; and yonder's another—' The Forced Sale.' They 
are windows looking out upon our national life of toil and 
struggle and sometimes failure. Reid has the soul of the 
man who wrote, ' This is my own, my native land.' " 

Indeed it was a curious Bain that was issuing through 
the crevices of his armor. The divine truth flitted through 
my mind on the wings of fancy, that all this that I saw of 
refinement, that was like the Armless One of Milo come 
upon in a butcher's mart, was because of Jean. Before 
Malcolm had switched to the trail of accepted loneliness, 
perhaps Jean had inspired all this of delicate home arrange- 
ment. 

The pictures might have meant offerings to the spirit, 
within Malcolm himself, that loved the pansies, and the 
iridescent brook, and the rose-covered wall, but the piano 
stood a rosewood monument to a yearning that had died. 
Unconsciously my fingers strayed to the keyboard cover- 
it was locked. Something told me that it had always been 
locked, and while Malcolm lived it would remain locked. 
Curious testimony, these inanimate witnesses gave. 

The books climbed one wall, shelf upon shelf, just as the 
roses mounted the outer bricks. Did Bain read these— their 
back* carrying names that were of a race alien to the toilers 
71 



The Lone Furrow 



whose shadows inteitxpted ours daily on the village streets? 
What did they know of Bacon and Tyndal and De Quincey 
and Steel and Addison — or these men of the shelves know 
of them? And if Bain hobnobbed with Pope and Johnson 
and Dr. Bentley in their murky Stagira, why did he leave 
them coffined here in their buckram, and gossip about the 
price of wool or the vile condition of country roads with 
the village group, hiding his burning bush under a wooden 
vegetable measure? 

A grotesque fancy took me from the other side answer- 
ing this query. What if Bain had transported a metaphysi- 
cal shadow from that third shelf niching Meister Eckhart, 
Jacob Boehme— filled his huge head with intricate passages 
from Nich<Ja» of Cusa, Barcelsus, culled flowers from their 
nature philosophy of the Renaissance, and, sitting by the old 
box stove in Reid's store had given expression solemnly to 
something like: " The soul of man, which as a microcosmos 
resumes the nature of things, strives by self-abnegation, or 
self-annihilation, to attain this unspeakable reunion, which 
Eckhart calls being buried in God." I pictured what 
would have transpired. MacKay would have thumped the 
floor with his stick and exclaimed : " God, man ! where did 
you come by that? Are you well, Bain? " Willie Watson 
would have pretended to get the drift of it, likening it to the 
phraseology of a dissertation on law by Taschereau. But 
it would soon be hushed, driven from cognizance by some 
one's complaint of how the coal strike had driven up the 
price of firewood a dollar a cord. Or Sweeny would tell 
gleefully how Bankes, the new milkman, had been done up 
by the simple farmers over his purchase of cows. How 
that, knowing that Bankes was coming to buy a certain day, 
7* 



The Lone Furrow 



they had refrained from milking for twenty-four hours, with 
the result that the cows displayed great capacity for milk- 
giving. 

I turned from this psychology trail to the more trodden 
literary thoroughfare of some late novels that, lying hap- 
hazard on a table, indicated perusal. 

Bain had been opening some letters he had taken from his 
pocket. 

" I have heard from three places," he said, resting his 
hand on the letters, " but there's not the slightest trace of 
Minister in those parts." 

" It's a terrible mystery," I commented. But not wish- 
ing to follow this subject just then, I swung the trend of 
Bain's thou^ts by asking: " Have you read this book, ' The 
Foolish Marriage,' and what do you think of it? " 

" It's altogether weak and vicious. I don't know what 
the writer was after, unless it was just a salacious clamor 
to attract buyers for the book. Out in the world they seem 
just like we are here in the village; a story affecting the 
chastity of a woman will bring everyone on the run to 
listen. It just seems that with the tying on of the fig leaf, 
a simple function of nature becomes a sinful mystery, an 
engrossing theme for morbid tongues and minds. But while 
we here in the village whisper it, holding our heads dose 
with a slight tribute to the indecency of it, writers such as 
that author blazon it forth, not hesitating to run their poi- 
soned daggers into the already dead." 

"But I've heard it contended, Malcolm, that such stories 

as this, depicting sin, are a beneficial lesson. I've always 

thought myself that the fearless utterances of the Bible in 

this way were eflScacious. And the American classic, ' The 

' 73 



The Lone Furrow 



Scarlet Letter.'-that deal, altogether with the eduction of 
a woman. 

"There you're wrong, Cameron." Bain exclaimed; "it 
do«nt touch on the fllthine« of the governing theme, it 
ded. ^together w.t'. the «:t a, a ,in, the aftermath of re- 
morse and repenti. cc, and fear and punishment. That is 
just why .t is a gr.at book. «,d this one "-Bain thrust the 
Marriage from h.m as though it were carrion-" this i, 
a wretched travesty upon the mental development. Phywc- 
ally and sp,ntually deteriorate beings gyrate through its 
fields, hving m an unholy atmosphere of desire, and at the 

Z>fZ r"1'n^? '""' '"•"''"'' *"■' °^" temptations. 
c«.e by l«s of God's wrath than falls to many a man that 
has led a hfe of hard-working usefulness. It's a d«,gerou, 
book to put m the hand, of any young woman or young man, 
for .ts altogether of filthy desire; and ' The Scariet LtT' 

li!!r^u '"t"^"" "f th« ■■"fallible punishment 

which follows s,n_the most bitter retribution that can come 
to a man, the prolonged lashing of his own -.-nrience. And 
you mentioned the Bible, Doctor, in thr sa,r,e breath with 
wh^ yjou spoke of these modern decaJ.:. blueprintK- 
wjere the woman taken in adulten^ was brought before 
^nst, andthqr were for stoning her. There was no ex- 

TTZ^^' T" ^ C''""-*« 1"« of the flesh was 
not dragged up to be paraded in palliation. Christ looked 
down and wrote in the saads, then he said: 'Go and sin 

.Tk-T'vJ^'J '^J "" ^ '° '^'^ ^■*'' *is obnoxious 
subject. Doctor? She had sim«d, according to Christ, be- 
ayae he said ' Sin no more '-, command. That's a filthy 
thmg mcuierated to toleration, if such a thing be possible. 
Just read Proverbs vii if you wish to learn how this sin 
74 



The Lone Furrow 



is treated with strength and with clean fearlcMnest and with 
literary beauty— read that, Doctor, and you'll never more 
be confused over the relationship which exists between these 
filthy books and the Bible." 

Bain's gray eyes were luminous with earnest intensity; 

it was a new being bursting forth from his solemn holding. 

" You've thought deeply on this subject. Bain," I said. 

" I must confess I was rather surprised to see these newer 

novels with you." 

"Yes; there are others of the same ilk, showing the 
decadence of men in their gregarious existence. Satiated 
mental appetites they come by, that must be tickled by 
scorching cocktails of scribblers' brewing— the absinthe and 
the brandy and the vermouth and the tabasco of literature. 
There is ' Man and Superman ' trying to prove God knows 
what. I think the author is as much mystified by his 
sophistry as any of us. He'll be like that commentator 
of Aqumas whom Garden speaks of as having wept in his 
old age because he could not understand his own works. 

"Alt the big-heralded books that come to us from the 
hub of tSe world, London, just have thtir narratives revolv- 
ing about the lifting of the fig leaf, as though there were 
nothing ilse of import in the world but the bestial, perverted 
sexual desires of men and women led out of healthy reason- 
ing by just such constant expression of thought as these 
very books contain. And the pages are smeared over with 
glamourous attributes of silks and satins and jewels and 
wines, draping the hideous skeleton of this perpetual rutting 
which places man as the lowest of animals— for the others 
have their seasons, ordained by nature— until the young 
reader, standing on the threshold of life, with its many paths 
7S 



The Lone Furrow 



le«ling mto the future. Me. the wrong tr«I, the one le«I. 
mg to d«truction. ro^-bordered. . gemle gr«lie„t. «nooth 
of t««»ver«, «,d hear* voice, more seductive thu thoie 
that Od)«eu. waxed hi. companion', ear. against. They're 
T ^"'^^•.'^ *^^ There', one. the n,o.t deprTvS 
thing u, .11 literature. 'The Picture of Dorian Gr^.' A 
brUliant gifted man ca.t in that Sybaritic town, that i. a 
Aouund time, worse than the old place on the bank, of 
larantum. drew thi. .ketch from the knowledge of hi. eve 
tnd hi. experience, f. read the* book, becau* I want to 
know bow the trend of thought i. out in the world; they 
can t hurt me, but they make me sad; they recondle me to 
the lesser sms of our people here. Book, are grand com- 
P«.on. when we take the upright man by the hand, and, 
followmg a strong line of hi, rugged contour, shape ou^ 
own by ,t; »,d the profligates, the indecent., make u. more 
charitable toward men of our own knowledge, whose Aort- 
coming. fade away to nothing in the fierce heinou. light 
thrown by these wn, of Ahab. But for the young and un- 
thinking, the good books to bufld the character first, to the 
end that when they chance upon the other it will be «en in 
Its own muck." 

"The London life seems to engender a morbid ta«te for 
a iterature of illicit Potif." I offered; "thieve.' tale, or 
buU-necked par«>n. or 'My Lady Careless '-even in the 
thester. ,t is the ume salacious seasoning-indeed the whole 
dish IS of but putrid morals; but it is for themselves and 
we here m Canada need not be affected by it." 

"But we cannot escape its poisoned breath." Bain ar- 
gued- we are so veor English here. It", a matter of faith 
with us to hold up our hand in horror at any evil report 
76 



The Lone Furrow 



from the Stites. uid say in pity, u Hosea said of Ephraim, 
the Yankee ' is wedded to his idols, let him depart.' Also 
we consider him like Ephraim again in being but ' an un- 
turned cake • in the way of morals and culture and liter.- 
ture-*) we cleave to the London faith for our reading de- 
daimmg that we are patriots, empire sustainers. And the 
harm this vile picturing of English home life will do is in- 
calculable. It will destroy all regard for the home people; 
It will offset much of the present endeavor to draw the 
people of Canada and the people of England into a closer 
relationship, « relationship which must depend altogether 
upon mutual regard, for it's useless to talk of regulating the 
bond of unity by treaty-official bargains, like other material 
dMl^ are sure to be broken when the profit becomes one- 
tided. 

" Better the old books on the shelves, Malcolm," I sug- 
gested. * 

"Perhapa," he said inconclusively; "but the thunder of 

philosophy that it in them deadens the small voice of truth. 

I fetf-the clatter of dishes more impressive than the food 

they carry. They've all bowed down to Bacon's ' Idola 

Forti'— the Idols of the Marketplace; standing words on 

their weak legs at the embodiment of nonexistent things. 

De Quincey divided literature into three parts; he might 

have pruned closer and carried it forward with two, as most 

Aings in creation ut^pro and con, for and against, for 

C»od or against God. for good or for evil; the rest is but 

■ subdivisional ramification of letters. There's a book," 

Malcolm said, indicating a volume of philosophic writings; 

It holds nothing but derelicts bound in the floating weeds 

of uteletsness. It is a Sargasso grave of floating sepulchers 

77 



MKROCOrV mOtUTION TBT OMIT 

(ANSI ond ISO TEST CHADT No. 2) 







A /APPLIED IIVMGE li 

^F^ 1653 E<nt Main StrMt 

KS RochMtvr. Ntw Yorti 14609 USA 

^S (718) «2 - 0300 - PI>on« 

>^ (71 e) 2aS - 9919 - FiK 



The Lone Furrow 



of »aence, carrying the dead bodies of wrecked theories. In 
It we find page upon page of elaboration seeking to prove 
that the New Testament was not inspired because its litera- 
ture is crude and barbarous; the writer holding that divine 
literature should be as pure as Plato's and eloquent as 
Cicero's. And against him is Warburton, proving that it 
was inspired because it is barbarous in expression. Just the 
Idols of the Marketplace— words. When shutting the door 
upon all this book wisdom, we may come out into the glori- 
ous sunshine, and the fields yielding sustenance to man, and 
flowers to gladden his heart; and not one of these philosophers 
could do what that lily you see through the window has 
done. A root delves »n the black muck and brings up that 
beautiful form, always true to its delicate conception. All 
the Man philosophy in the world cannot create one simple 
thing such as that. It may blend and make hybrids, it may 
deviate these created things from their original paths, but it 
cannot create them." 

" You should have been a writer of philosophy yourself, 
Malcolm," I hazarded. " It is marvelous that you should be 
content with this empty village life." 

" I am content for want of a road to greater content- 
ment." 

" You were for the ministry at one time," I said. 

" I soon found I wasn't fitted for it. I'd have made a 
poor servant— not to God; I think I could have labored for 
Him, but there are intermediate agents that will harass a 
man. I was afraid of the bit physical strength I have; I 
don't just realize its full extent when I'm roused. And I've 
seen occasions when not even the restriction of the Cloth 
would have kept my hands from the throat of some black- 
78 



The Lone Furrow 



guard; and perhaps, not knowing it, I might have held him 
till he was dead, and that for a minister— it would not do, 
I was afraid." 

I knew well that what Malcolm said was simply a state- 
ment of the truth, for once in the village when two hulking 
brutes had insulted a girl, terrorizing the little constable till 
he was afraid to lay hands on them, Malcolm had throttled 
one so energetically that it was a question if he'd ever come to. 
"But you're wasting great capabilities, Malcolm," I 
ventured; "you would have succeeded in almost anything." 
" I might have made money that I don't need," he an- 
swered simply; "perhaps taken it from some one who re- 
quires it. That's the generally accepted idea of usefulness, 
the acquisition of worldly goods; men wreck their bodies and 
their souls over the laying up of stores they'll never use. 
One can't engage in any business nowadays without being 
at the throats of others, and them clutching at his. With 
a large capital I might have employed labor, with the laborer 
to revile me as a heartless capitalist grinding the last ounce 
of force from his body; and perhaps I might have come to 
look upon him as a treacherous, skulking ingrate; if I believed 
in him and trusted in him I should possibly find myself a 
bankrupt As it is, I can do a little good now and then ; hav- 
ing time to supervise these little matters, the bit money goes 
farther in the way of alleviation. As you're thinking. Doctor, 
it's just a curious little sidetrack in life that I'm following; 
not much of a goal at the farther end, but, in reality, just 
the same goal that awaits us all alike. ' The paths of glory 
lead but to the grave,' and a simple, truthful sticking to our 
own path is the greatest kind of glory." 

From the hall came the heavy boom of a standing clock. 
79 



The Lone Furrow 

"Man alive-it's five o'clock 1" Bain exclaimed; "I've 
gabbled for an hour. Will you have a cup of tea— Jennie is 
somewhere about and she'll draw it for us? After that I'll 
walk back to the village with you to let the sound of your 
voice take the din of my own from my ears." 

As we walked back to the Hedge there was little talk 
from either of us, my mind subdued by the curious loosening 
up of Bain that cast me in a mood of reflection. What a 
strong factor in life he might have been had Jean unlocked 
that piano. And yet was he not altogether grand in his soli- 
tary breadth and honesty and beauty? 




80 




CHAPTER VI 




jOW the days came in a procession. It is curi- 
ous how, when one waits expectant, that a 
day which brings forth nothing of fulfillment 
seems a period of utter uselessness. A great 
sorrow narrows the vision. 
Bain and others strove in vain to solve the mystery of 
the minister's going. There was absolutely no starting point 
to work from. Even the man who was supposed to have 
seen Minister at the railway station the day he d-" iptared 
destroyed the faint clew by now confessing that he as prob- 
ably mistaken; he had since observed a stranger getting on 
and off the train several times whom he had undoubtedly 
taken for Neil Munro that morning. Minister often walked 
to the railway station for exercise, so he might have been 
seen there that day, and yet not taken a train. He ceruinly 
had not bought a ticket, for the agent knew him well, and 
was positive upon this point. 

One morning Bain caijie to the Hedge, his face carrying 
a cloud of depression. My heart jumped to my mouth ; had 
he heard some Iful news, learned some awful reality? 
His words relie\ me. 

" There is a scribe in town," he said. " The York Times 
8i 



The Lone Furrow 



J" •*" »"« °^ it. reporter,. «,a the paper will be foil Z 
how you feed your hen,. Doctor, and how the ScoL^ 
one another's throats. Thi^r-Mi k ■ *" "" "' 

wife, and dark h^tT„7 * "'""'• "^ *« «'«««ed 

stole' the co^en^'" L\IT u'"' r,' .'^' *" ^'» 
to take the matter inh "^i"*' **»" '''^el I've a notion 

pond. He's The Lhe,r I '""'' """ ^''"^ '" ^' 
Tday. He «kcdT, •; T*: ''""'!""'* ^'^' ^ f« »any 

n>inifter ^ettnT; i foltd'tr "^ ^ °*.'"'"''" 

-Miss^^kett. I saw ruiTi: oTe^ TlZ't^^S: 

" Ves; just fancy! Teacher's name associated «;»». ♦!, » 
of any man is certainly droll " «»aated with that 

.11 thiJ!:tL'"Macoior ''T-'^'' '"^ ''-' "" -* 

e/ther. there's 1 totfofv^^ioT It "^S,"'' ^'"'^ "-- 
with him some day. if he's nTt\i L OhTu7 the'^ 
-be is going to have a wonderful «o,y. I ^t X^ 

against wen, and make entry into the house." 
.. ^"^ "^""^^ d" him no good," I said. 
No, u wouldn't. There'll be no wrong there; but he'd 
82 



The Lone Furrow 



Zt'^'^^^■ •* '"'^'''''' '■"""' """'''"e' «"'« have . pic- 
I T i^y""" • **"•'''• " »»"'«hmE to prove it. The 
liberty of the Press is a grand thing, Doctor " 

" 7*"' ^" »P!»^ "^^^ '»." I told Malcolm. And when 
he had gone I waited for Jean to appear. Waiting. Robert 
Craig canje m. As I looked into his face I had a wish 
that the lacrosse season and the football and the other 
Vorts were done with for the year. The athletics that were 
devised for the physical betterment of the young men in 
h« case had a ^etrimental effect; they led to too much good 
fellowship. Where some of the others could make one night 
Of It and abstain for weeb. he couldn't. It just seemed 
useles to trouble over it though, for in the winter there 
would be dances and parties and holiday times-yes, it was 
hopeless. 

Jean came out to where we sat just as my mind had 
struck this mmor chord of despair, and I was glad of even 
the troublous question of locb and bolts. 

T J "".T^ '* "'"^ ^"''^ "•^"^ *' «•»«"• S"Kesting that 
I should go up and see if everything at the house were all 
right. Jean gave me the door key, and then another, smaller, 
wying: "This is the key of "-she hesitated, eliding her 
husbands name-" of the study. I just locked the door. 
1 ye been wanting to ask you before this, but hesitated, not 
wishmg to trouble you too much, to bring me any letters 
or papers that might be on the desk— there were some. I 
remember." 

" Give me the key. Doctor." Robert asked; " I'll run up 
—It won't take me a minute. You needn't bother— you have 
your writing." 

" I don't mind in the least," I said, putting on my hat 

83 



The Lone Furrow 



"Well, I'll go with you." Robert declared. 
_ When we entered the Man«; the boy «id : " Eveiythine 
|»^J^1 r.ght here, just « Jt wa, when that Phari Jwi;? 

may brieL' ■ """ ^'" '''" "■'* "'"" "-«' '^<"««-hc 

dead "''Vr 1''^"'''" ''"'"" ^"^ """"^ "^ him a, being 
dead The boy s vo.ce was querulous and hi, face wore 

o'l^^^eTv "Tr '""'■ •"' "''"^»' '•'"-'-« -»«« ^u 

»T , , "P***" "" qu«stion petulantly. " Have vou or 
Malcolm heard anything that you are hiding-wly do yo„ 
say Munro is dead? " ^ ' 

^.nl'^r " "u-*™* "^ '"■"' '■■^'■"K; « •»«" do«n't sud- 
denly melt into thin air." 

"No.notevenifheisdead-they'dfindhisbody. They 

Xliy? " "'" *"■■"• ""' '^'■" "*""--»•« h^ 

"kiiiefanrLMySenr-'^'" ' -^'' '^^''^•^ 

.hJ']?°/°"'f. T""^" ' P™"""«' «"'"«»"? And if 
MlrolLT?'' ^'^-"^ '«-*--- '-of «il to 

r ,llf. 7 J«"<1« on the boy's arm-he had shocked me. 

JTT i" "^"u" 1° '"^^ " •^"«'' •■"■■"We frame of 
mmd, the aftermath of dissipation; hi, nervous, sensitive 
temperament wa, subject to this uncontrollable mood after 
a drinking bout. I knew well. 

" Don't be so bitter, Robert." I admonished; "you don't 
84 



The Lone Furrow 

Wfc', body was found in h" r'vcr Id' rT- "!"'" •"' 
eossi'm— 9nJ ,. "^ '^'''"^- indeed, to this day the 

^,f ., ""' "^'^ I"' found-i.„l«s he makes away with him- 
Robiirt? '°° ''•"""''' """'^ '"'* ''"'^ ""-"t it any ^ore. 

see 7^: 'i '!• ^°" !!?'>''* '"^ " "'' """^t door. Doctor- 
see it its fastened. Give me thr ki*- T'li ^"^'"r 

w« something i„ hi, eager nervousness, his lire upon 
getting possession of the key. that bred this feelinT 
85 



The Lone Furrow 



We 11 go up together," I «n»wered. " In dealing with 
another man'* papers it removes the constrained feeling to 
have two present. Come on, we'll go up together." 

As I opened the study door Robert stepped quickly put 
me.^ I saw him give Munio's desk a sweeping scrutiny. 

There are some letters. Doctor," he said; "tie them 
in a packet— heve are some rubber bands." 

As I gathered the loose papers I heard Robert nervously 
opening drawers, and a crackling noise as of a small lock 
bemg forced caused me to turn my eyes in time to see the 
boy slip something in his coat pocket. He caught my in- 
quiring look, I fancy, for ]:-. said in an explanatory way, 
Neil s photograph— Jean will want to have it." 

w '""l! 7"^ *'"^"" ^ "'''' "^* "»y "*e " in tradng 
Munro if he doesn't return soon." 

I put the letters I had gathered in my pocket. Turning 
from the desk I noticed a paper on the floor that perhaps 
had fallen from the drawer Robert had opened. I stooped 
to pick it up, and as I did so an odor struck my nostrUs 
with a force that arrested attention. It was an odor new 
to me. fiercely penetrating, sickening, iu very radiating per- 
fume suggesting evil. 

Involuntarily as I picked the fallen paper from the floor 
I earned it to my nose. It, too, radiated that odor. It 
was an unpleasant smell; yet it aroused my curiosity. 

" What's the matter, Doctor? " the boy asked. " Give 
me that paper. I'm going to burn these that are in the 
wastebasket in the grate." 

He thrust his hand out eagerly for the sheet I held 
and closed the half open drawer with a nervous move^ 
ment. 

86 



The Lone Furrow 



I can 



. ';VVh.f, that odor?" I asked; ",V, dreadiul! 
■m«gine It a make poison or somethin . vicious." 

.w.red. "' ^"""""^ •""•"'* ""'■"*' •"y"""«-" ^ «"- 
Something in his voice caused me to look at him Hii 

.y« stru^ed to hide a he and his weak hps were Jilili: 
The odoT once m my nostrils clung to me; it was like 

.n ev.1 spirit; like some indistinct devil fn a nightl.re 

de,k "/"'."J ^'"""''» Klov^ were lying on a chair by the 

TT' ""^'J^ r "" •"•• P"* """'^ "^V '■" one of the 
drawers, nofcng that they carried the same heavy odor, k 

curTosTlV'* T"" *• '°*""- ^'■''' »" uncontrollable 
Z^ '^ . '"' ^'"'' ' ""P"' ''"'^'' "'en « Bible to my 

rZlL^T' "k •r^'' "' '"'■» '•-■«"' »P'"t o5 
repugnance. I saw the boy watching me with su- ous. 

"Are you acquiring Munro's scent so that you can trace 

voL "[.""^'""""^"A* *"'■«• "'-"^'^ ■" « -X 
voice. If you ve got it, Doctor, we'll go " 

I did not answer him. We locked th. ^oor behind us, 

mv lunl'thT M ' 'T " ''"' ''^«'* 'o -"h *«"" 
my lungs the horrible stench that w« stifling 

It was curious how such a seemingly small thing took 

dT^t"~ r*"' r ' ""■"' °' "°*'"«^ ''- A hundred 
diferent perfumes of flowers and drugs and chemicals I 
summoned frcm memoo^, seeking in ,i„ for a correspond- 

cJrHi^"'^^ I remembered that Robert had exhibited no 
cunosior over this that had troubled me. Did he know what 

1 Tk u""' r'"' ""^ •" "^''^ "° explanation? He 
must have been lying when he said he had not noticed if 

87 



The Lone Furrow 



j^would h.v, ^.erted i«.If even to the dullest «,« of 

tJi«t the rest of us did not, wm more than . luspidon- it 
WM . ce„..n,y. I ^hearsed the little Kene in the Zj 
Robert, nervous .rrittbility when I spoke of Neil; hi. in 
«.«ence th.t Neil w« live; his «xiety to go to tie «udy 

Pocktt-ye,, that wu curious; it would h.ve been «, natund 
for «,yone suddenly coming upon Neil's picture to We 
.hown It. criticised it. Why did he wish me not to see i" 

,h./ ""^-i /".^^" ''"'' '•^'' «°'"« "P «« *« tavern, 
of Lilt h/ ^•". V-'«'^""« " " «•»> were a pictur^ 

upon me that it was not; something else-but what? 

)-. [ T'i '"I" "" '"'"'' »"'' "*''«'' J««" « 'he h«l got 
her husband's photo among the papers. 

taken ^^h/LI" ""'■'""''1: "^ ""'"^ ^eil never had one 
laxen , ne had a curious objection to it." 

Evidently Robert's statement was untrue. What object 
was It that had been of so much importance that he St 
called upon to deceive me? Not money, for with dl his 
addiction to liquor, the joy was the soul of honor; it was 
bred in the Craig blood, nothing could eradicate that. 

«h»ilTT"\'^T^'""^ °* ^°''*"'» f«« e°'"K white 
when I had spoken of how his words would be misconstrued 

!? ^!;! ^""-J f'<^ «"«^ to n.e, and I strove to put 
■t away. The boy simply had no nerves of reliabUity; they 
were weak, shattered, unstrung cords that vibrated treach- 
erously to every little gust of unusuality. But what an 
88 



The Lone Furrow 



thnlmg ,tory. .hould even hint .t the po«ibili,y of '->ul 
J veL/w • '•""'\",^"» •»>« >«t Per«n known to 
qlwrlT ' ' ■ ''"'' '"•'"* '■" ■ ''"« 

. My Godl 1 m-Vht be called upon, forced, to give « 
c.nniniitMt,al evidence the vague impre«ion, that were now 
in my mind. 

I cdled B .t«, «,d strode away for mile, over the hill,. «,d 
WW my lung, w.th the floriou. breath of the hay field. 

ItouiT **^* *"'' *'"''"'"""* ""' "'^ *° ' '"^"''" 

to the Hedge. W.th profe«ional insistence he had .uc- 
ceeded m interviewing Jean; but her quiet sense had stood 
ner m good .tead. 

Minbter Munro had gone away for a little rest, that 
was all he could glean from Jean. 

After all I was glad I had not been at home. Perhaps 
my anger at his intrusion would have caused him to re- 
taliate unpleasantly in his account of the mystery. 

The next evening the York Times contained the re- 
porter s version of "A Mystery in the Ministry." The 
report itself was a remarkable contribution to literature, an 
«a.per.t.ng pot pourri of facts and fancies. Fortunately 
tor the good name of lona the writer was safe in York; the 
villagers would certainly have slain him-they would have 
tossed him gladly into the pond, at least 

ered nightly in Hugh Reid's grocery store for converse. It 
' 89 



The Lone Furrow 



was a duU evening, drawn blank, when nothing but boli- 
ti« and the weather were served up. Some one of the 
half dozen seated around the square box stove was sure 
to have a subject of wondrous interest. Winter or summer 
the stove was there, and the same seats; two sugar barrels, 
for the brown and the white, a couple of loose boxes ready 
to be pulled up, the little table, on the farther end of which 
were the ham and bacon on cut, and two chairs. These 
seats iiUed, other attendants stood. 

Ever since the disappearance of Minister and the takine 
of the Skipper these subjects had been almost the sole topics, 
and this night the caucus was nicely under way w.hen Willie 
Wateon the Town 'Clerk, appeared with a copy of the 
York Evening Times in Lis hand, and the pleasing pos- 
•ession of something new in his mind. 

His quasi legal profession had inculcated in Willie a 
love for dramatic e£Fect. He knew what was in the paper, 
Md he also noted that none of the others had come by 
their copies yet. 

The papers came by the evening train, and Willie had 
sapiently waited at the newsdealer's for his Time,, having 
used his cross-examining faculty to draw from the reporter 
the mfomiation that his report would be in that issue. 
Watton had glanced hastily through the daily and then 
hurried to the gathering of the gossips. 

Teamster Dick Sweeny was saying: "Well, b'ys, yon 
detecoye that they've put on the Minister's track has got 
somedimg up his sleeve, mark my words. I had a drink 
with him at the tavern." 

"What does he think of the case, Dick? " asked Dun- 
can Anderson, the Insurance Agent. 
90 



The Lone Furrow 

"That's what I asked him myself, Dune, an' he just 
looked wise at me. 

"That rooster's got a sharp eye in his head," Ander- 
»on commented. ""ucr 

" He's got a still tongue, b'ys." Sweeny added. "Just 

<"^ **"'* ««"**'"8 back of all this." 

What came of yon newspaper fellow? I ain't seen 

nothm of h.s m the TimesV queried Dugald MacFarlane. 

He got hold of a stoiy here that the Minister had eloped 

with the organist." 

Everybody laughed; it was an incongruous picture. 
_ Say. b'ys." said Sweeny, "I'll bet she'd swat a man 
quick that would go for to kiss her. Faith, she'd run a 
mile if a feller winked at her." 

" She's a sweet little body all the same." declared Mac- 
rarlane. 

" Fmth. I'U tell you what I think about it. b'ys," con- 
tmued Sweeny. " Munro was a little off his base. He 
shut hunself up with books an' writin' an' sermons an' 
prayin tJl he got sick. If he'd gone to the bush an' chopped 
a cord of wood every day, he wouldn't of looked so ganted 
up an blue about the gills. I mind myself the winter I 
was watchman at the factory here. I hadn't a thing to 
do but eat Say. b'ys, I was goin' queer in the nut I've 
seen me go out on the road in the moonlight an' chase 
a shadow for a mile. S'help me, God! b'ys. that's no lie. 
I did for a week straight on end. I could see the thing 
ahead of me on the snow, an* what d'ye s'pose it was- 
a stnng on the peak of me cap. If anyone banged a door 
I d jump a foot in the air. I took patent medicines till 
I had a drug store inside me. Say, b'ys, I was drug pow- 
91 



The Lone Furrow 



dcrs to there. S'help me, God! I was"; and the speaker 
narked off with a hand the first button from the bottom 
of his vest. " I was iron pills and tonic washes to there "; 
his hand rose a button. " There was salts an' sennie an' 
herb teas to there"; his hand caught the commencement of 
a faded green tie at this. "An" just at the bottom of me 
throat I could taste the goldashest bitter stuff that Mother 
Kelly swore by— she give me a big bottle av it. I was 
full up, as I say, of medicals, and me chewin' gum to beat 
the band all the time. I got that weak, be-gob— I couldn't 
lift me ax, and thin I found all the cure I needed was more 
liftin' of the same. Work— work— that's what done it— ax- 
handle oil." ' 

"It's all here in the Times," interrupted Willie, and 
drawing from his pocket the paper he tapped it dramatically 
with a finger. 

" What's there, Watson? " queried MacKay. 
" The reason for the disappearance of Minister." 
"Read it. man, read it; let's hear what yon gosling's 
got to say," cried MacFarlane. 

Watson took off his hat, smoothed his gray hair back with 
one hand, took a drink of water from the pitcher that was 
always on the counter, stared over the top of his glasses 
criticaUy at his audience, and then read the daily-expected 
write up. There was a headline worded " Dissension in 
the Church." 

"I wasna aware of any trouble myself," said MacFar- 
lane. " I'm thinkin' yon lad was a bit o' a liar." 

" Oh, we hae perfect harmony," declared MacKay, wink- 
mg at Sweeny. 

" ' The Minister was a temperance man,' " read Watson, 
92 



The Lone Furrow 



and some of the church elders thought he was too per- 
sonal in denouncing the drink from the pulpit.' " 

" That's expleecit," commented MacKay. " That brings 
it doon to f "e individuals, including three that're present." 
^ The \. lister or no other man ever saw me the worse 
of liquor," d. lared Anderson hotly. He was an elder. 

" I take a drop meself," said farmer John MacRae, " but 
I'm no a drunkard. An' if I had yon scraggy runt of a 
writer here I'd treat him to something stronger than 
whisky." He was also an elder. 

" That's your Tory paper, MacKay, with its policy of 
slander," sneered MacFarlane. 

At this juncture Malcolm Bain came into the store 
for a purchase, but there was a barricade wall of flour 
bags that hid him from the group around the stove and 
they were not aware of his presence. 

Watson was reading in a monotonous voice some inter- 
esting generalities when he suddenly stopped and said: 
" Listen, MacKay— you'll enjoy this, I know." 
Then he read: 

" ' One of the church memberj is an enthusiajtic disciple oflzuk 
Wtlton, He is also a Government official. One Sabbath the 
Rev. Muoro preached against the disregard of the sanctity of the 
day of rest, indmadng that some of his congregation were given to 
casting a line in the brook instead of listening to God's word in the 
kirk. The pew of the official spoken of was empty diat day, and 
it was whispered diat the Minister's remarks were leveled at him.' " 

Watson lowered the paper and looked over his glasses 
mournfully. The two angry elders smiled, and MacRae 
coughed suggestively. MacKay stared in blank amazement. 
93 



The Lone Furrow 



Of a the liani IVe never strung a rod in my life 
on the Sabbath. Some one in lona has just loaded yon gos- 
ling up out of spite. If I kenned the fool I'd bash him." 
, "^•*,"''* "^^ Donald," commended MacKiUop. 
There s one man in lona that would just like to see a 
split in the church. Perhaps you know who I mean?" 
"No, I don't." 

"Well, who would have an object in throwin' the blame 
of the Minister's goin' on the congregation?" 
To their credit no one took up the insinuation. 
"A man doesn't leave his home because of trouble in 
his busmess, often; it's generally because there's something 
wrong in the home,"' continued MacKiUop significantly. 
As Sweeny said, that detective knows something behind 
the scenes. Now, who's been hintin' at this same thing 
that s m the paper that some of the congregation was against 
Mmister Munro and. wanted to get rid of him; and who 
was like to make trouble in the Minister's family? You all 
know who I mean." 

As though the speaker's strong allusion had conjured up 
the embodied principal, Malcolm Bain stood before their 
astonished eyes. His tall figure loomed gigantically above 
the sitters, his square rugged face was like a bronze mask 
—It as terrifying in its power of control, for he must 
have known that it was he whom MacKiUop meant. 

Watson shoved the paper nervously in his pocket. There 
was a minute's silence, apprehensive, trying to the nerves. 
And aU the time Bain's eyes were fastened enigmatically 
upon the dark, dissipated face of MacKiUop. 

" You were saying, MacKiUop, th&c some one was mak- 
mg trouble in the church— were you meaning me? " 
94 



The Lone Furrow 



" I mentioned no names." 

" You ought to. A slander is worse if the slanderer is 

too cowardly to give the other man a chance to defend 

himself. If you were meaning me I'm just sorry for you, 

for though I don't like to mention it, I've helped you many 

a time. And I'm not trying to split the Church— I'm trying 

to keep it together. You did slander a man and mention 

his name, but that's just as bad, for he's not here to 

defend h,mself. And he helped you, too. He picked 

you out of the gutter and tried to make a man of you 

-and you hated him for it. I'm meaning Minister 

Munro. But worse than aU this, you hinted slander at 

a good woman-as good as God ever put the breath of 

life m. 

As he said this, Malcolm wait J to the back door of 
the store and opened it. 

MacKillop drew a breath of relief; he thought Bain 
was leaving. But Malcolm came back to the stove and con- 
tinued | "Ye're not fit to be sitting here with gentlemen. 
Gossips one thing, but slander's another; and slandering a 
woman should be punished. So now I'm going to put you 
out among the pigs in the back yard— your own kind, you 
can 'raternize with them." 

Bain swung his long arm with wonderful rapidity and 
seized MacKiUop by the collar. The latter was a strong 
man, too, with a reputation for barroom fighting. As he 
struck at Bain he was twisted sidewise, and another hand 
that was like a bear's paw seized him by the roomy part 
of his breeches; he was lifted to his toes, propelled swiftly 
through the door, down three steps, then lifted bodily, and 
canted over the low fence of a pig pen. 

95 



r 



The Lone Furrow 



MacKiUop fell sprawling among the porker., the mire 
smotnenng his curses. 

Malcolm Bain came into the store, dosing the door be- 
hind him, saying: Friends, now that yon liar has gone I 
just want to say that as we call ourselves men it's put 
to US to protect the Church and the name of our Minister, 
who was a good wan. and the woman who has now come by 
jorrow enough. I think I'll be going. Good night, eve,^ 

I "^T^yrC 'J""''""' Sweeny, when the door had 
dosed behind B«n, "that was as wdl done as ever I see 
m me life. Thats what they call ' buffaloin' ' a man out 
west* 

Ma^FariMe'^ ''' '^^"^ " *''' ^''"*' '^"""•" «"""«'««'« 
"Well," said Storekeeper Reid. coming from behind the 
counter, "it served MadCillop right. A man has no busi- 
ness to drag a woman's name into any discussion. There's 
been too much talk over this church business anyway." 

Hivms! but that was a surprise party to MacKiUop." 
"'llfTT •""»"''«fi«"y- "Say. b'ys, when Bain 
grabbed Archie .t just put me in mind of what happened to 
Bert Mullen yi^terday up on the farm. You know what 
Bert , hke. ^ Wdl. we was comin' up from the bush, me 
an Bert, an just as we rounds the drive shed there was a 
two-year-old mooly heifer sound asleep standin' up in the 
shade. Says Bert. 'Watch me give the mooley a surprise, 
Uick. Say, bys, he just walked up to her, cunnin' Hke, 
as though he was goin' to steal a bag of oats. When he 
gets dose he hauls oflf with his big fist an' gives her wan 
m the nbs. Say, b'ys, I never see anythin' so quick in me 
96 



The Lone Furrow 



life. I guew the ould heifer'd been dreamin'. She whip, 
round, rippin' « bellow out of her thafd put yer hair on 
end, an' ketches Bert in the ribs with her bunty head that 
was like an iron pot, an' lands him on his back in a mud 
puddle a f>ot deep. HivinsI I rolls on the ground yellin'- 
S help me God! if Bert'd been killed I couldn't t' helped 
It. When Mullen come out o' the mud hole he rips an 
oath outen him an' says, ' Dick, don't never strike a sleepin' 
cow. I won't,' says I. 'Neither will I again,' says he." 
1 wonder that Archie didn't come back at Bain when 
he dim' out of the pig sty," remarked MacFarlane. 

' I'm thinkin' he had needs to go home to dress first " 
suggested MacKay. " And yon's where I'm going, too; I'm 
«wa home. Who's going my way ? " 

"Archie'U play Malcolm a dirty trick yet for to-night's 
work, mark my words, men," Watson added. " He's got 
«n Indian streak in him, has Archie. I don't say there's 
«ny truth in it, but he's got the face of an Indian, and 
hes as mean as any redskin." 




97 





CHAPTER VII 

IHE day after the a£Fair at the grocery, Mal- 
colm B^n came to the Hedge, his ostensible 
errand flowers for the Memsahib. 

" It's the safest place to carry them," he 

hat .nJ K u J 1. . ""^""y '""°^«' h» »»iff black 
hat._.^d brought forth a bunch of great cat-faced pansies. 

1 brought them for the good wife, Doctor. She was 
«y.ng she had no luck with her pansir-'this yea . «.d oT" 
at my place they j„st grow like weeds." He added a»^^ 
p^cdly lest I should make too mu^h ofth'/ ob 'iS 

I A^JZ "■"" 'r"'*" ""'«* '^^y'^' *Wnned ou?«,d 
1 dKlike throwmg them away. We're all too prone to 

tftrl' r^'T ".'"■ "^ '"^^ """^ *•««" cnough'of lei 
«id trample under foot the beautiful things the Creator Z 
taken so much Uouble to ple«e us with A love Z S 
beaut.ful and depravity seldom home in the same m«." 

Seldom, 'I concurred. " In fact, any love possessed 

by a man must keep him in the better way." ^^ 

"Yes, Doctor, many wise men have left us deathless 

Upped Jeu r. Thmk of the poet's heart with his l«nent 

over crushmg .ts bonnie stem. The whole wide exp,^ 

98 



The Lone Furrow 



•tart, but .t wasn't Minister. And, Cuneron, .peakineof 
the papen, do you take the Timt,?» ' 

No; the News." 

•. "^*"' l!!!*" "" 'y' ^°'" y«terda/» r»m«— don't !«■ 

wiHi'^V '"' r°' ""'"'«• « Pa.^ of ^Vai" 
with ooze, and .t s just fair criminal. What makes it wo™ 

the .d.ot Bot a smattering of truth into it lye the t^ul' 

used^ « a Plaything, or for evil purpose, is som^Smt ^e' 

"£1! ^^' ''"" **' J**" ''°«"'t »ee Jt." 
There s another thing you might keep an eye to Over 
th« «m,e matter there was an unfortunate toon « 
^e^tor, last night. The usual lot were therlZL; 

"Yes, I heard all about it, Malcolm " 

Bam started ; a shamed look came into his face. " How 

" NoT/? kT. °' '■*• ^"^'"^^ You weren't thfr^" 
... .^'»'.''"* I ''"d it all from one who was. And ^u 
d.d just nght The Church and Jean and m^selfare^ 
ytry much obliged to you." ^ *" 

" I'm glad of that," Malcolm answered simply; " I fair 
l^t my temper. I fear. But a village that Jves way to 
|dle goss-p is in a far worse state than if it heW Sng 

err ""'^.'"^ •■" *"= ^"^- Backbiting is wo^ 
dum black eyes-it leave, nastier scars; scars'on meJI 

99 



The Lone Furrow 



•ouls. The ruction at the ttore may check the men't talk 
■ bit, but you can't ftop the wag of women's tongues; it's 
.at difficult to keep them out of scandal mischief as geese 
fr«n young grain fields. They're the same-a fence'll not 
1»,J them. If you'll sneak to Mrs. Cameron she'll warn 
off the old wife gossips when they call." 

" I'll do it, Bain, though I think she would have been 
before either of us in that." 

"Will it be too great a favor if I ask you to give 
the supply minister a bite of dinner tt -morrow. I've ar- 
ranged for Dr. Macl^ean from York to take the service. 
He s of Knox and has influence, you see." 

''I understand. I'll be glad to have him with us." 
" He'll be meeting Mrs. Munro and it'll not do harm 
either side. I don't want the other party to get hold of 
hmi. He'll be stopping with me, but my bachelor dinner 
would be poor cheer for him." 

"You'll come to dinner, too, Malcolm?" 
"No, thank you; I've got to be home. It's a lovely 
day, isn't it," he added, which I knew meant that his mis- 
sion was ended. 

" It's very hot," I objected. 

" True, it is a bit warmish, but the heat'U harden up 
the wheat beny; aye, and we'll have three days of it. The 
wind blew from the southwest last night till twelve and 
this morning the barometer rose a point. Three days of 
this dry heat'U make the wheat grade Ai ; itil put five 
cents a bushel on, at least The farmers have much to be 
thankful for in these parts. Well, I'll be going. I'll just 
bring Dr. MacLean over after service. Perhaps you'll be 
■t church yourself." 

lOO 



The Lone Furrow 



.!». r* r * '■"'* ""^ «='*'■"« "«« gate, looked 
Jwcghtfully up the ,. -t. «,d then critiodly .t the Ay 
I knew there was wmething .till on hit mind, but I couldn't 
help him out with a lead. 

"How it Jean bearing up through it all? " he tuddenly 

« ".^•* '■'' •"Kh"' 'yPe of bravery, tilently," I antwered ; 
^haps her tuffering it too acute for wordt, it may be 

" Jutt tell her we'll find him. Good day to you, Cam- 

Bain't advice appeared to me to be unwite. Jean's 
character was too ttrong, or perhapt too deeply grounded 
m simple faith, to need the bolstering up of problematical 
premises; but his words revealed exactly Bain's position, hit 
pomt of view. 

There wat no doubt that he was deeply in love with 
Jean; also that he had glorified hit patsion till it was like 
the love of a brother, holy in its unselfishness, in the ab- 
solute absence of physical influence. It was like some pre- 
cious metal, gold incinerated to purity. Malcolm's powerful 
frame, his almost dour Scotch face, the massive head so 
stolidly fixed on heavy shoulders, suggested so little a 
tabernacle in which homed this beautiful spirit of chival- 
rous love. The magnetism of his ttrong nature alwayt re- 
mained with me after he had gone and now I continued 
strokmg the muscles, mental and physical, of the idol 
A fine nature. Bain's, I called from one side of my 
mind to the other; intensely human, thoughtful beyond 
count, yet liable to misjudgment through indifierence to 
diplomacy, 

lOI 



The Lone Furrow 



I threw o£E the alluring tpell of character analyiis by 
totM'ng my voice up the stairway : 

"Alli»! are you there, Memiahib? Doctor MacLean 
U to have dinner with u» to-morrow," I announced, a« her 
head appeared over the upper banister; "he's the Supply," 
" What!— th ' Dear Old GenUcman 'I I'm so glad! " 
This simple I, Jure brought her lightly downstairs. We 
had grown into the habit of short-range communication 
•mce the advent of Jean; far-cartying voices might cause 
a twinge of painful remembrance. 

Doctor MacUtp, of all men, will be most welcome," 
Memsahib said, now at my shoulder; " he's just the sweet- 
est Christian that ever breathed. That's why he's the ' Dear 
Old Gentleman ' to everyone. If anybody can give Jean 
spiritual solace, he can. It's Malcolm's arranging, isn't it, 
husband ? " 
"Yes." 
"I knew it" 

Then I thought of Bain's flower tribute, forgotten, in 
my hand. 

I' And he brought these pansies— for you he said." 
"Oh! the duplicity, the delcacy of that huge creature! 
they re for Jean— from me, of course; I'll give them to her." 




I02 



I 





CHAPTER VIII 

IHAT WM it this Sabbath moming-why did 
the Hedge atmosphere vibrate with intense 
currents? 

Scarce eye-open, I was hurried into active 

necked li„,„ T^'^'^T^'" ''" ^^^ "' recalcitrant stiff- 
necked linen But first the decorous shave; haste was written 

Zi^T^ had prematurely invaded my household in 
•pint— esoterically projected by his fame 

from my mind. But the Memsahib held her Aladdin lamp 
to my ^ «,d I saw as she saw. Indeed. I was to . tt3 
^Tr "T.!', '•■'' "^ •'''J«=''°"' «"'• I donned S 

Little feet pattered from room to room-to the bath- 
room, where five pairs of shoes glistened in ebony blackness 
w-tmg to be tnmsfe^red to their proper hiding beneath peTs." 
White dresses crackled and rustled as little figures bruTed 
through doorways, or galloped upstairs and downstairs. 

1 He Hedge would contribute royally to the Dear Old 
i-.enUeman s convening that Sabbath. 
103 



The Lone Furrow 



At last we filled the hall and poured out to the walk. 
Ungraciously I whispered to Doo-doo, " Isn't Mother like 
the Plymouth Rock hen with her chicb? " 

"Oh, Father!" and Doo-doo's reproof gurgled droivn- 
ingly in bubbling waters of laughter. 

The street was fogged with the dust of farm vehicles. 
Doctor MacLean's name was a shibboleth to test even the 
reluctance of an agnostic. The old kirk swallowed up a 
stream of humanity till I wondered where they would all 
find sittings. 

The Memsahib had used as a whip to my sluggish zeal 
the promise of a fine sermon ; and when the simple, gentle- 
faced minister took us all to his heart In the pulpit, and 
reached us closer to God, I fell to wondering wherein lay the 
strange alchemy that, dispensing with eloquent rhetoric, suf- 
fused the temple with the whispering spirit of Christ, It was 
all about Christ and Toleration — thoughts of such boxmdless 
width that we floated in a sea of communism. No making 
a combative stand upon points of debatable theology; our 
questioning mentality rested in Nirvana; our hearts softened 
and dominated our selfish selfism, until, casting a truant 
eye about, I saw all the rugged Celtic faces soft, like the 
faces of the shepherds in the memorial window. It was 
the window, perhaps, with its subduing light, I reasoned. 
Certainly it was the face of the Madonna that stabbed 
me with a poignant regret that Jean sat yonder under 
the lilac hedge, alone, save for the companionship of her 
sorrow. 

Presently I was transfixed by words. Before, it had been 
all a subtle spirit of Christian sincerity. Ah! that was it — 
that was the compelling force, sincerity. The Minister was 
104 



The Lone Furrow 



^'"! °V!'*.~"^*'^*'''" « continuance in unity a mass 

SL 1""'': "''"^'''' "'•""• '"^' « line S rZ 
Aem «^c. ,n h.s gentle voice: "I would ask of you "l 
as Chnstians a cherishing love for- our sister of the lone 
furrow— the wife of your pastor " 

ab Jilttr""'*"' ''''"'" °^ ^" °'*'"'y^'> •»« >« « reason- 
uLTt 'a- •"•'^T- .^^ ^"^^ *"^8«'» "'"h « "range 
irlng ifr""' *'«'"^''— '<•' --out correlativ": 
It was something nebulous-that God. and simplicity 

s«Be thing Th«e words pushed each other back and forth 
unt.1 my head throbbed; I could have grasped the liS 
A.n-ha,red old man of the pulpit in my ZJ, and ca^Sa 
h^- u. joy to some high throne that was ,' seat of t 

^JaTT^I Memsahib's hand was on my arm-I am 
^md she thought I was aslee,v-.md she was drawing me 
to .knowledge of observances that, with the words oi 
beauty m my mmd, meant little. 

unA^" *'" """t " ,*' '"^"- ' '"^ *« D°«<" tucked 
under my arm-I could love him now without pretense 
and wc were ebb-tiding back to the Hedge. Not. however 
untd Dr. MacLean had held levee on thf greens;ar U : 
for^ that hke a nch woof of velvet carpeted the «rth 

stn? ? T/'fl'T '"'"'•^■■"8 ^■'h '•'' warmth the cold 
stone feet of the kirk. 

CaJvinistic faces, moulded hard by their owners' lives so 

mdisso ubly wedded to toil, carrying the toil-endeavo;" e" 

mto their religion, lost much of their austerity as they 

grouped about the little gray preacher. Indeed, ven^ proud^ 

* 105 



I 



The Lone Furrow 



I marched o£E with our guest, followed by looks of par- 
donable envy. 

And the Doctor, pulsating with human feeling, left his 
mantle of theology flung against the kirk walls — ^figuratively, 
of course— and said: "My, my! Dear me. Doctor Cam- 
eron, what a lovely thing to have all these little girls. My, 
my! Look at the sunlight on their white dresses; just a 
sweet picture. If God had nothing else to give us but 
such gifts we ought to think well of Him, indeed we should." 

That wasn't theology — not at all ; it was just the jtyous 
boy's mind in the silver-haired dome. 

I was thinking that the Scots would indeed be stifiE of 
neck if they did not bear patiently the yoke of casual min- 
isters for a little, after listening to the Doctor's words 
impregnate with resignation to the will of God. 

As we sat behind the lilacs in the little interval between 
service and dinner, I found myself constantly gazing with 
puzzled wonderment upon thb quaint old-fashioned man 
who had thrilled me with his gentle sincerity. Sitting there, 
rocking nervously in a low chair, his body had shrunken 
from the commanding aspect carried in the pulpit. There, 
also, the face had been luminous with magnetic power; be- 
hind him the choir had appeared just blotches of color 
against the somber-toned organ; now the face was plain, 
perhaps sweet in its symmetry of plainness. The eyes car- 
ried no fire, just trusting content ; looking at me they seemed 
to say: " We both, not meaning any evil, say this or think 
that." Gazing into them I noticed there was a feeling of 
mutual confidence. That he was fussy did not irritate in 
the least. 

Then there was the dinner. And, lol suddenly, as if by 
1 06 



The Lone Furrow 



diMce, the Doctor, the Dear Old Gmtlemw, wm tJk- 
.njoW^book-hadreadit. Indeed, he w« .' wo"del', 

And he came over a part that I had toiled at to the 

nrL^ r." '' '^.*' Memsahib's eye, luminous in ap- 
her arms around his neck. 

But after dinner she ex .loded a bomb under my castle 
of conceit, knocking at least a turret into mortar. 
lr«, rt,l" *''°"8l«^» °f D^- MacLean." she said, " to 

fidels m Chma. so that there'd be nothing said of the church 
here to worry Jean. 

"I thought he was really interested in my stoiy of the 
Mmister among the Indians." I answered somewhat stiffly- 
he must have been, to have read it before he knew us- 
oetore he came out here." 

" Of course he is interested-everybody is; I mean every- 
body who has read the book," she answered. 

"Dear me. how lovelyl this simple life^yes. yes! " thus 

Dr. MacLean expressed his boyish satisfaction, as we trav- 

h^mt^ ''°* ''"'^'°' *° *' '""'^ dominated by the 

Three soft maples standing on guard up and down their 

heat of my frontage fought back the hot slanring rays of 

the afternoon sun, and with the screen of their broad leaves 

veiled the dust that swirled up from the roadbed and sought 

toleap our hedge. I„ barter for the sunlight they threw 

"cross the lawn a cool shade. 

107 



The Lone Furrow 



We almost laid hands upon our guest to get him in 
the hammock. "The ladies — dear me, the ladies, by all 
means; Mrs. Munro, or you, Mrs. Cameron — a little rest" 
But finally he yielded. 

" You were asking about the hardships ia China, Doctor 
Cameron," he began. 

I hadn't asked; but that was li mere bagatelle, so I 
nodded as encouragement to the Reverend's story. 

" One of our missionaries," he continued, " the Reverend 
Philpot, was lost for — dear me, how long was it? — ^three, 
five, yes, six months. ' Of course, we had given him up for 
dead, sorrowed for him greatly — he was a most conscien- 
tious worker; we had dispatched a missionary to take his 
place, when one day I received a cablegram that he had 
been found, restored to us by the grace of God. I haven't 
the particulars yet, it was quite lately, and we don't know 
whether he gQt lost, or wandered away, or was captured 
by the Boxers and held for ransom." 

" It must have been a relief to you," I said. 

" Indeed, it was — a blessed relief. It shows we should 
never lose hope — ^just live in faith until — ^well, until all hope 
is gone. Of course, all hope is never gone, because at best 
it is only change, a happy change." 

What a deep little old man it is, I thought, as I began 
tv> realize the sentiment that had prompted him to say, " You 
were asking of China." 

"Doctor," put in Malcolm Bain suddenly, who with 
the Agnostic, had joined our little party, " do you remem- 
ber that you are to have tea Mrith Mrs. MacFarlane?" 

" Dear me, dear me ! thank you, Mr. Bain. I had for- 
gotten it. Dreadful, inexcusable! I must go." 
io8 



The Lone Furrow 



Such a bustling departure the Doctor had, fearine he 
would not be fn t.n,e. It was not yet five, bit The D^ 
OW Gei^tleman qu.te forgot to look at his watch, accept- 
ing Bam s suggestion that he would be late 

A Disciple of Christ." the Agnostic said with abniot 

ZnPZy^r' '•' ^' ''' ""^ "^'^* «^« "« "^ 

th. '3'-\ "i."*'^ """""'" ''"'*■" ''•^'»'«' Bain. " I mean 
the bcirf. I„ not saying that its obligations are carried 

Z\ .uTT'^i' " '■" °'' M«^Lean's case. You dTn" 
go to the k.rk. at least you haven't for some time, or yT'd 

Tdoir' "I*'? '" *' ^"'' P^^l" «« *««. well, 
worked hard for fifty, or sixty, aye, even seventy years 
some of them, and the joy of life has pretty well iS 
out toward the end of all those years. So fit wel^f f!^ 
th.s religio^My God, man! it would be awfuTTtLnk 
of the desolation, wouldn't it? I've looked in theTr S 
many t.mes-thev're honest faces as the world goes-and 
Aeres no trace of despair; they're as content afwrare 
Man, do you mean to say there's nothing in aU that> " 

Bam you're as honest in your convictions as the good 
Doctor who has just left us. I like to argue this quesS 
with men I suspect don't believe ,hat they preach Over 

"L^Z'u"""^ *' ^^'^'^^ '"^^'^ **»^"<» *e church, 
there 11 be men to-mght with their heads bowed to the 
prayer, and m their hearts an evil hope that Munro, who 
was as good a Christian as the Doctor, may never come 
back-^d jj«t because he let them see that they were 
hypocrites. They would deceive themselves if thqr were 
109 



The Lone Furrow 



il 



left alone, but he wouldn't leave them alon^ he was tiying 
to save them from themselves." 

I had a strong suspicion that the Agnostic was still trying 
to convince himself, unsuccessfully, that the faith he had 
imbibed at his mother's knee, that had been his God-fearing 
ancestors' before him, was a chimerical nothing. Apart from 
this divergence, he was altogether a lovable man; as his 
criticism of the Doctor indicated, of a fair-minded disposi- 
tion. But, unfortunately, he was tenacious of argument 
This I think was an exemplification of the statement " Satan 
finds some mischief still for idle hands to do." 

He was a retired offidal, having seen service in India. 
Voluble enougji over some things, he was rather reticent 
about his own early life. This I put down to the English 
insular diffidence toward discussing personal aflEaiis. I was 
certain he could have nothing to hide, nothing prejudicial. 
Indeed, perhaps, he was not even English bom; his tongue 
was cosmopolitan to a degree, that is an English-tongued 
Cosmopolii. His idioms had a range from Oxford to Cal- 
cutta, loitering on the return journey in New York, with 
a large sweep of Canada. 

It was difficult to place him by his speech, or accent, or 
lack of it Many would have thought him a Canadian; 
indeed, he may have been drafted from the Kingston Military 
School to the British service, or, bom in Canada, dribbled 
through the schools in England and turned out a griffin 
with a billet in India. 

He had acquired a vast fund of information upon gen- 
eral topics, and drew upon his store at times for most 
convincing similes, or examples. Why he had come to 
our village probably to spend the remainder of his days was 
no 



The Lone Furrow 



to Ae Bnu»h Ra,; perhaps it had not used aim quJt^SJ 

in the way of promotion. ' 

I conjectured that his agnostidsm-it was only that be- 

c.u« of a more relative word-was more or lei . fo™ 

England he would have had his whist at the Club-V^ 
hghtful sohice of the super«,„uated-a frock^oat «rdlt 

Zl "' °=^t' ""•' *^" '««'"«'* *eme f^; 
desultoiy conversation— the fogs. 

v^Jjl'^l^y '^'^^^ ""' '" ^'^ »° fi"d a home 
where hs slender st,pend-he never sought to conceal the 
fact that his means were limited-would be sufficient for 
JeSf ' "''' ^ '°°'' "^^^ -"<» *« -«" "1 the 

Ike gniy- and red-wooled sheep in the valley and uo 
the undulating hills, was veo' like an English hlnlet anj 
perhaps the Agnostic had thus discovered k fromle wTn 

trpie^ir. ""'r "'*• ""' "* -«• -"^ '• ^' -". 

was pleased to have him as a neighbor. 

thesfT^lIf """;'* """' '^""' *" '"■"' '" "«'t»l'«' "ver 
th«e problems of creation, and futurity, and the present 
weH-being of human., than to fritter away the i^ 

the^ fogs. If he liked the simple it was certainly good for 

when the Major resumed: " From where I sit I can^t 

four church spires, which means four bodies of sane Zle 

set against each other in the matter of their common^! 

Ill 



The Lone Furrow 



And the same thing subdivisionally exists beneath each spire. 
Across the way most uncharitable stories are going the rounds 
to account for Munro's disappearance." 

" Don't listen to them, man, they're quite untrue," said 
Malcolm. 

" Where was Munro in the ministry before he came to 
lona, Bain? Have you thought to inquire in that parish; 
he might have gone back there for a rest. If he were suf- 
fering from aberratioi) brought on by overwork and de- 
spondency he might drift back there by a sort of instinct" 

" It would be a long journey, Major — India." 

" Was he there — as a missionary? " 

"Aye; and a good one, too; a martyr all but the final 
journey with the Silent Boatman — he was stationed some- 
where in Central India." 

" That's the whole thing then," cried the Major eagerly; 
" I'll wager a guinea he got a touch of sun ; and once touched 
always touched — I think something melts in the gray mat- 
ter, for a man is never the same again, liable to go o£E at 
a tangent at any moment. By Jove I we had a hot spell 
just before he disappeared. Now we have got a clew. Their 
devilish dark hints about other things are all moonshine; 
Munro /as a bit dotty owing to the sun." 

" It might be so," Malcolm admitted slowly. " There 
was a famine in his district the year he came home, and 
he just slaved to save his people, and sapped his constitu- 
tion for the benighted." 

"And now his reputation is sapped by the benighted 

here. I admit that I wasn't in love with the missionaries 

when I was in India; some of them were so zealous that 

it just kept the officials busy keeping things straight A man 

112 



The Lone Furrow 



. superficl cou«e in thwlogy. and sent out there invircd 
by the ,dea that he had .Bnonmt, crude «vag« to Lh 
Urd ble«, n,e! he would go up against mefthat S«i 
question, had been torturing for fifty generation, back!! 
heritage, you know-and they would look upon the mi^ 
,.onaiy a, crude, a novice, , fal^ doctor who had come 
among then, to destroy a belief, or a faith of generations 
jnd then, when he had shattered everything th^lSZ 
believed in, destroyed their faith, would ask them to accept 
on h.s assertion, a new dogma. To my mind it's a dan- 

get him to hold to anything after that, new or old. I'm 
not Mying that Brahmanism or Buddhi«n are tr.e gospels- 
IS "J'^;''.^-'"*"' «"> -^ng prindple,, B^hmaS^^' 
particula.y, for it is grounded on fear. Siva, the Destroyer, 
and his hy^le consort, Kali, are fearful embodiments. The 
religion of ChW,t i, far more potent to elevate humani^ 
But these students of theology, the Brahmans, were ken, 
analyzers, dissector, of doctrines, and they could find in the 
Chrmian religion with it, 'eye for an eye, and tooth for . 
tooth, and the wrath of God, much to liken to the very 
thing, the missionary denounced. When he innocently 
enough declaimed against the Hindoo's reverence for the 
cow he attacked an ordinance that had been enacted in great 
w.«lom. The Brahmans knew that and laughed at him. 
In times of extensive famine-and famines were but nature', 
way of preserving the balance in earth's creature»_thoM 
who were dying of starvation, after they had eaten whatever 
gram there was, would have «vept from the land the catde 
Then when a time of growth came, the stronger one, thai 
"3 



The Lone Furrow 



had ninnved would have had no means of tilling the soil. 
It would have been perpetual starvation until all were ex- 
tmct. Nothing but deifying the cow, and the sacred bull 
of .wine, would have kept the knife from their throats! 
The fear of eternal punishment for this sacrilege was greater 
than the fear of a temporary death. But I'm preaching, 
lecturing; its a tremendous subject. And ignorance of all 
these things is what blunts the sword of Jehovah in the 
hands of inexperienced babes." 

" But Munro was a man of wide knowledge and broad " 
contended Bain. ' 

" He was," assented the Agnostic. " And perhaps where 
he seemed narrow, bitter, nailing the sin of intemperance 
like they nailed the thieves to the croM, may have been due 
to just this very Eastern experience, comparing the laxity in 
regard to drink among the church members with the ab- 
stemious habits of the Mohammedans and the Buddhists. 
I ve traveled myself among the Beluchis and the Afghans, 
and they, as a body, shun spirits as a Protestant does Holy 
Water. Perhaps Munro wished to sustain the Christian re- 
ligion on a higher plane than these faiths we look upon as 
Pa^. Anyway he wore himself out here over the famine 
of Christ s manna as he did in India, and broke himself 
down. 

"And of more import than the cause of his going is 
that he has gone and we have : , trace of him," said Mal- 
colm. 

" But I have heard dark hints of foul play "; the Ag- 
nostic said this with an unconscious lift to his voice, as 
though the remembrance had suddenly flashed upon him. 

Before Malcolm could express his ridicule of such an 
114 



The Lone Furrow 



idle report, Robert Craig't voice broke in upon u* from 
almott at my elbow. 

Hi« boyiih face peered at ut from over the gate, the lilact 
hiding him until he leaned forward. 

He had heard the Agno»tic'* word* for he laid: "You 
are like three black crow* sitting on a tree.— Croak, erode 
croak I" ' 

He swung open the gate and took my chair which I had 
vacated for a *eat on the bench. 

" We were just talking over plans for tracing Neil," 
Malcolm explained; and I undentood this as a hint for 
us to eliminate the general discussion of Munro in Robert's 
presence. 

"And just now you're busy over some old woman's 
yam that he's been murdered, like the prince in the fairv 
tale, eh?" ' 

" We're not listening to such idle, foolish gossip, Aoy," 
Malcolm answered, most of his reproof centered on the in- 
flection he put upon the word " boy." 

Then by chance the Agnostic sUrtled me with a simple 
question : " Have you sent to the papers a picture of Minister 
Munro? That's one of the most e«Eective methods of finding 
a lost man." 

"That's just where we're hampered the most; there's 
not a photograph of Minister to be had. I was wanting 
one, but Mrs. Munro says her husband never had one 
taken ; he had a curious objection to it," Bain answered. 

Hanging on Malcolm's words, I was watching Robert's 

face, for his curious conduct in the Manse study came back 

to me disquietingly. I caughf his eye once in a furtive, 

frightened look; I was sure his face grew pale. Now is his 

"5 



The Lone Furrow 



opportunity, I thought; if he do« not offer the pbotognrS 
hi» explanation to me that day was all a lie. I tat silent, 
waiting. He did not speak. I had a chance to either con- 
vict or clear him of deception by referring to the plwrogiaph 
he claimed to have discovered, but I just thought of what 
trouble a word might lead to^ and desisted. 

Besides, in my mind he was already convicted of in- 
expli-able deceit. And there was that other terrible, un- 
explainable dread engendered by the remembrance of the 
smothering drug odor. It was in my nostrils now, killing 
the sweet breath of th^ flowers; it had drifted in with Rob- 
ert, clinging to his clothes. It sickened me. I wanted to 
sweep the Hedge of it— of the boy— of the whole nauseat- 
ing mystery of Munro's fate. 

I rose, saying: " I'm sorry, but I've letters to write." 
" By Jove! so have I, nearly forgot," declared the Major 
rising; "I must be off. It's too bad you've no picture 
though, Bain." 

" I'm going in to see Jean for a minute. Doctor," Robert 
said. 

"Just call up to the Memsahib," I advised. Then I 
traveled to the sidewalk with Malcolm saying: " Ba , 
you've got this whole load perched on your shoulders like 
an old man of the sea— you must give me a chance to 
help." 

" I'll call on yt soon as there's need," he answered. 
"See yon hammer-headed cloud 1 That's sullen looking; 
there'll be a storm to-morrow. The Major's a fair type of 
Christian if he'd only let himself believe it." 

L«ft alone I sat in retrospect over the discussion that 
had just taken place. My mind must have been fogged 
Ii6 



The Lone Furrow 



with M much of it; the wide ranse, India and thcolocy ««d 
Brahmaniim and our own mystery. 

All the philofophy of the world leemed m utterly inade- 
quate to glinting one itrong flaih of light acroM the dark- 
ened path of the lone furrow. 

Not one of ui had the ilightett dew to work from— 
then with an erratic jump my mind landed irriutingly in 
the study at the Manse. Did Robert really know some- 
thmg? If not, why should I, unsuspidous naturally, attach 
so mudi importance to that drug smell and Robert's pre- 
varication? 

The thing tortured me. I must settle absolutely the 
matter of the photograph. I had hesiuted to speak of it 
before others, but now— The boy's step on the veranda 
put a seal on my determination. 

"Jean : J feeling pretty blue," he said, as I rose, block- 
ing his exit; "but there's no cause for despair. Munro'll 
come back when he—" The boy stopped abruptly. 
" When he what? " I asked incisively. 
" When he realizes what it means deserting Jean. He's 
gone off in some temporary fit of despondency; he's a weak 
man." 

Again I felt the boy was prevaricating; that his lips were 
not uttering what was in his heart 

" Why didn't you offer Bain that photograph you had? " 
I asked, looking straight into his dissipated eyes. I saw them 
twitch nervously, then narrow to defiance. I read in them ab- 
solutely that I should get nothing from them but perhaps 
another lie. 

" Where is Neil's picture ? " I asked ; " we need it. Was 
it that you put in your pocket? " 

"7 



The Lone Furrow 



" It was something of Munro's and I threw it in the 
fire." 

"What was it?" 

" None of your business." 

" Why did you lie about it? " 
Again, none of your business, Doctor." 

I was staggered. It was something of importance enough 
to cause him to quarrel with me. He was ready enough al- 
ways to quarrel with others, but with me he had been 
di£Ferent. 

" I'll speak to your sister about it— I'll ask her," I said 
in a foolish threat. ' 

He divined the weakness of my statement— quick to 
know that I would not execute this threat, and answered 
sneeringly: "Jean has trouble enough; if you wish to cause 
her more it rests with you. There's too much talk al- 
ready," he added, as he swung the gate open; " it's a wise 
head that preserves a still tongue." 

I felt that he had beaten me. His indifference to the 
accusation of having lied showed me that some stronger force 
governed his actions than his own susceptibilities. This 
seemed to make darker still the mystery. 

The hopelessness of everything glotaned my spirits on 
mto the evening. When the Memsahib went to churcR the 
house became utterly desolate. I sat in my study plodding 
on behind the solitary figure in the lonely furrow, watching 
her m speechless sorrow searching for something that she 
never found. Perhaps, like the princess in that weird love 
song of Afghanistan, who, with her lantern, searched the 
battlefield, she would come upon her lover slain. Perhaps 
even that would be better than this shadow-seeking. 
lit 



The Lone Furrow 



Rousing myself, I wandered across the hall and into the 
o.awing-room. It was dim with the hLning shadows of 
approaching night, the last gray of 1 16 dyin^j iigln battled 
back by drawn curtains. The crir. son-and-gol<l window 
across the way would brighten this gloor... A majesty of 
music welled up, cloudlike from the organ, pealing the end 
of the service, as I groped my way to a window. Thrusting 
back its curtain my hand fell upon the head of Jean, bent 
low to the ledge. 

Jean must have heard my step, for she was less startled 
than I; and when she did not raise her head the thought 
came to me that she was weeping; I could feel a tremor, 

"I'm sorry— I didn't know you were here," I said 
lamely. " It's too gloomy— come into the study and I'll 
read." 

A sob answered me. 

" Come," I continued, gently putting my hand rn her 
aim. 

The soft gray fabric that she always wore now grated 
on my fingers like crape. It was a seal of despair. 

She rose to my little drag at her arm, saying: " I came 
to this quiet place to hide my cowardice; I should be braver." 

" Not out of yourself, Jean; you couldn't be braver; but 
you must trust in God. You know that He will watch over 
your husband, that He will sustain you." 

I think it was the utter impossibility of putting my 
thoughts upon material support— some reasonable argument 
to combat her despair— that caused me to so readily offer 
spiritual solace, for, inexperienced in this, I was lamely con- 
ventional. Like many a weakling in this field, I only blun- 
dered, for I accomplished something worse than if I had 
119 



The Lone Furrow 



remained silentiy sympathetic— I drove Jean into the most 
inexplicable revolt. I listened to a perfect torrent of re- 
bellious despair; I had unwrittingly throvirn open the gates 
of the dike, and the pent waters of tried patience flooded 
forth. It was only afterwards that I remembered Jean's 
earlier struggle with this same spirit of rebellion. 

"Carry to God what?" she asked, her voice cynically 
questioning, "a parched, dried desert of a heart, scorched 
by nothing but trial, but starvation of everything that fat- 
tens the heart of a human, and then have God turn His 
face away, and be thrust back into deeper misery? I've 
tried to be a Christian; I've read and plodded and listened 
and smothered dovm * doubts and shut my eyes to the 
hypocri^ that sat, long-visaged, under denunciation from 
the pulpit, turning away with the cheek of a Pharisee the 
shafts that an inspired man leveled at their sins and their 
weaknesses." 

Jean was trembling in her intensity; and, not answering, 
I pulled a chair, though we were still in the half li^t of 
the shadowed room. 

" If ever a human being tried to come close to God I 
did," she resumed, "and to-night He is farther from me 
than from some murderer waiting in his cell to be hanged. 
What did God do for my father? Left to smother h his 
own weakness— and never in his heart was an evil thought 
for man or woman. And my brother— thrice accursed. Will 
God save him? Did not God remove the one man who had 
dominion over Robert's consuming passion for drink? " 

" Jean," I pleaded ; but she continued as though I had 
not spoken: 

" If God ever had a zealous advocate on earth, it was 
1 20 



The Lone Furrow 



my husband. He had no thought but Hij labor; he gave 
h'i life for it, his soul." 

"Hii soul?" I cried out of ray dark mystification; 
Neil s work would save the soul of a devil." 

"You don't know; I say he gave more than his body 
to God's work. And now if we were to believe the ac- 
cepted interpretation of salvation he would be better sit- 
ting there in a pew atoning for mean sins by a formality 
of church observances." 

"You are wrong, Jean," I said bluntly; "God knows, 
and He rewards His faithful servants." 

My words uttered in objection really had no bearing 
Ml the change that came over Jean. She had exhausted 
herself with her vehemence; the torturing spirit of revolt 
had escaped in words. A flood of tears welled up from 
the depths of her misery, and she sobbed: "My God! I'm 
tried too sorely. My heart grows lean with the starvation 
of hope. Black, black!— past, present, and future; all a 
pall, a cloud without light. I'm meager in ray asking; 
not even love, nothing but just a ceasing from this long, 
never-ending trial. Let God give me back my husband- 
let God save him, then I'll believe everything." 

" Jean, even if Neil be lost to us he'll be taved," I con- 
soled. " Didn't the Lord deliver over to the tempter even 
Job's body for afllliction after all the other trials had failed 
to shake the faith of the man of Uz— and didn't Job still 
bless the name of the Lord? That's what Neil himself 
would have done — ^is, no doubt, doing." 

" You don't know. Doctor — nobody knows! I soraetimes 
wonder if even the Almighty knows right from wrong." 
I heard the the door swing; its creak was like a hush. I 

• lai 



The Lone Furrow 



was clad of the relief. Jean's despair and revolt were too 
powerful for my weak man's mastery; but the Memsahib 
would conquer it with just the uncombative way of a wom- 
an. She could talk to Jean of the unborn babe until she 
became like the Madonna, seeing nothing of the illimitable 
misery of the world, nothing but the savior that had been 
given her of the Creator. 




122 



^■a:.v 



D "'•■°^ 



^3 




CHAPTER IX 

|NCE in the hush of midnight Memsahib and 
I sought to untangle this delicate-threaded 
skein of correlative affliction that draggled so 
persistently at the heels of Jean's trials. Mem- 
sahib held the invisible skein in her delicate 

hands, while I blunderingly sought for the true thread of 

continuity. 

With a tug at an evident thread I exclaimed: "Jean 
gives expression to such extraordinary pronounced bitterness 
against the Church influence that has practically submerged 
her living life in a living death of despond. With her 
constancy and courage, Christianity should have sustained her 
even in a trial of this magnitude." 

" You forget something, husband," Memsahib answered 
— gomg on to show me that I had seized upon Uc wrong 
thread— "at present, Jean is not Jean at all— she is an 
overtned woman with tortured nerves. A woman in her 
condition is subject to strange fandes and hallucinations; 
eveiytuing rational becomes irrational. Why, I've known 
« woman, conjuring up disaster for her unborn babe, to 
turn against her own mother; so when Jean says she doubts 
God s goodness, she just voices one of these suspicious an- 
123 



tl 



The Lone Furrow 



tipathies that she might have held, without the slightest 

cause, against you, or me, or Bain, or " 

The Memsahib hesitated. 1 knew she was casting about 
in her mind for even a stronger, closer tie of consanguinity 
that Jean should have held to, and it came to me suddenly, 
as a revelation, that Memsahib had exhausted the list. In 
the whole world we three, unrelated to Jean, were, by a 
caprice of Fate, the bounden Door of Hope to the Valley of 
Achor in which she wandered. 

The Memsahib resumed, returning empty-handed from 
her mental search: "Jean's child wiU lead her back to a 
Ch ;«tian acceptance of God's dispensing, then she will be- 
come her old self again. I don't mean that if Nett is 
still absent, his fate wrapped up in mystery or solved in a 
bitter way, that she will be the joyous woman she was be- 
fore, but she will bear her cross bravely; and for such as 
do that, there is a sweet reward of hope." 

Then at once I discovered a tangle in the skein. " If 
the blow falls before her baby is bom," I said—" if some- 
thing terrible transpires over Neil's fate?" 

The Memsahib figurately rolled the whole skein into a 
hard ball by answering: " We shall know this first and, if 
necessary, we must tell Jean a deliberate lie— I shall; and 
I'm sure I shall be forgiven for the sin, if it be one. Well 
lock the gate against every tongue, and tell her that there 
is ao news of Neil — until after." 

" Yes, we've put our hands to the plow, girl, and we 
must not turn back. I'm with you— we'll cany Jean." 

Memsahib gave me one of her quaint little smiles of 
appredation and took my face in her hands, saying: "And 
all for my friend— you are very goodl " 
124 



The Lone Furrow 



" My friend, too," I answered. 

"nien to prove my wiUing interest, I dipped into plans 
tor the future, saying cheerfully : 

"I'll conjure up happenings to break the monotony; 
wid what has become of our picnics to West Branch— by 
Jove just when they were most needed, too. We've forgot- 
ten all about them, haven't we ? " 

"So we have— it is strange the children haven't been 
damonng for them. We'll have one to-morrow and twice 

« week after this until " 

The Memsahib hesitated. That dreadful until! it would 
end many a sentence of hope and despair for us, until- 
ahl there it was again. 

"Yes, to-morrow," I concurred eagerly; "it will do 
jMn good in every way. Will you round up some of the 
other children, Isabel and Margie; and I'll ask Bain? He'll 
be handy to have along; he'll keep an eye on the weather 
for us. 

"No, not Malcolm!" Memsahib objected, and her lips 
were hardened to thinness in decision. 

"Why not? He'd enjoy it-he's just as simple as a 
great boy." 

" Because— because— oh, I hate to even think of it— I 
believe women are the most spiteful creatures on the face 
of the earth." 

Yes," I interjected encouragingly. 

" Well, Miss Harkett has heard things." 
„ "^l*^ '""^ '*"*' ^"*'''*' ^^' °^ *« Sewing Circle, 

"It isn't in the Church. You know, she has music 
pupils in many homes, and I suppose they've let their 
125 



The Lone Furrow 



tongues wag, unconscious of the terrible crime they were 
committing." 

" Yes, yes, please connect it with the picnic, else I don't 
want to hear about it. For unless a woman sits beside a 
man while she is talking, what she says is of little interest." 

"They were malignant— they were unthinking! Thsy 
said that Malcolm was in love with Jean, and that Minister 
must have come to know of this " 

" I think he must have known that before — others did ; 
and that Jean chose the man she loved." 

" Don't you understand, husband — they are saying that 
Jean really loved Malcoli^ all the time." 

" Which is nonsense." 

" It is ; but their vile scandal isn't nonsense. Think what 
would happen if it were whispered loud enough for Jean 
to hear I Don't you see? — she is so entirely innocent that 
the scandal people might find evident confirmation of their 
lies; and Malcolm — ^well, he's just stupid in his absence of 
consciousness." 

My thoughts went back to the trouble in the grocery 
store. 

"I see; we mustn't have Malcolm at the picnic then? " 
I questioned. 

" No; we mustn't. And we must see less of him here." 

" Heavens! and give the best fellow in the world the 
cold shoulder because some old cats malign him ? " 

" No ; for Jean's sake — and not the cold shoulder." 

" How can we manage it? " I asked. 
" I don't know. We must just see as we go along. But 
this is one case, the picnic, in which we need not help the 
scandal." 

126 



The Lone Furrow 



" Of a jrse this is a very easy proposition, but I see a 
vista studded with pitfalls before us in a general endeavor 
to head off a man unconscious of the fact that he is not 
wanted. And I'd rather put everyone of those sossipers 
on a suttee pile and cremate the-n, thw load Malcolm's 
clean mind up with this filth." 

On the morrow the Hedge premises fairly vibrated with 
a bustling preparation for our picnic. Of course it was 
school vacation, and the children were primed with the 
giant powder of readiness for fun. 

Such a merry turmoil in the kitchen over the lunch 
basket The sandwiches, the cakes, the bottle of milk, the 
jar of lemonade, and— it was my suggestion, bom of many 
summers on the Western prairie — a camp kettle for tea. 

Blitz understood. He sniffed at the bathing suits ap- 
provingly. Upstairs, downstairs, and in the Memsahib's 
chamber he scurried after the little ones. 

At last Cook Sarah's voice is heard: "Come on, chil- 
dren! " and we marshal on the lawn, bulging with utensils 
until we resemble the Acadians about to be exiled. 

Away we go; Blitz, fearful that he may be forced to 
share the fate of Laddie's pup locked up in the cellar, scam- 
pers over the stone wall and pushes on ahead. He knows 
quite well what we are up to. 

We gather in our quondam relatives, Margie and Eliza- 
beth, and, like a comet— an orderly comet of leisurely proce- 
dure--stTeam over the hills and far away to West Branch, 
that is calling, caUing, over its pebbled reaches, like the sea 
whispering to sons of mariners. 

The small feet patter eagerly over the rustic bridge that, 
like a lover's knot, binds the cleaved ends of the pink road- 
127 



The Lone Furrow 



w«y. Benetth, the brook chuckles and lauehs in its freedom, 
M though It were a boy playing truant from school; for, 
has It not, higher up in the forest-holding valley, leaped a 
wooden dam the human toilers, beaverlike, have thrown 
across its path? To the right MacKay's sign "Trespassers 
W.11 be Prosecuted," leans hopelessly to one side, and some 
one, m misguided humor, has hung a dead crow from the 
post To the left, following the lead of portly Sarah, we 
clamber over a much-disarranged panel of the rail fence, and 
are knee-deep in a daisy-spattered meadow; purpled-plumed 
astera are trampled ruthlessly under foot; we are like a 
destroying army. 

Aa if to escape our onslaught, a wild clematis has rushed 
up a lightning-shattered tree stub to save its feathery clusters 
of white star flowers. Across the stream the intense green 
Iwves of a Virginia creeper drape the mournful ugliness 
of a dead pine. 

We are traveling into a horseshoe, a crescent of young 
cedars, festooned with myriad green buds till their boughs 
droop. Here and there in this olive-green line show touches 
of gold and silver where the brook smiles at the sunlight, 
or tosses its chipped ripple over whispering stones. 

The brook's purling drone hushes us of the care-thought 
to silence; its song is a lullaby that attunes our ears to 
something that echoes far down the cavern of the past, 
something that tinkled in the laugjiing days of childhood. 

But the children race with eager cries throu^ the 
meadow, and the tall grass grasps and clutches at their pink 
legs and winds about their little toes, and there is always 
some one of the seven going down or getting up, at one end 
or other of a fall. 

128 



The Lone Furrow 



I hwr • deep drawn-in breath just at my elbow; some 
one It draming a cup of th» nature nectar, the wondrou. 
draught that is sunshine and balsamed air. Then a voice 
«ys, "Isn't this glorious?" 

I turn quickly in astonishment. It is Jean. 
" Here we are," says the Memsahib. "Hueh-hl Thank 
goodness that basket will be lighter to carry home. I'll bet 
we ve forgotten somethine-we always do; sugar, lemons? 
yes, there they are." Strange to say, everything needed seems 
to have been remembered. 

In the cool shade of a cedar we rest after our battle with 
.*'.'""•„ J"*.f!^««' "^ "» «e the two swimming pools, 
Shmer and "Two-logs." These bathing ghats are like 
the village school; the little ones as they learn to swim 
graduate from the shallow "Shiner," with its floor of 
gleamiLg pearls, to the great lake that is " Two-logs." I 
can cast a fly with my six-ounce trout rod across this vast 
expanse of water, but to the little ones it is a Hellespont. 
All at once the air is Mattered by the battle cry of 
Indians. A figure, all but naked, darts from behind the 
hidmg skirts of a cedar, and yelling murderously, " Watch 
me dive, you people-Hi-yi-yi-yi I " dashes through the sun- 
light, then disappears over a cliff, and a great shower of 
pearls, sparkling white, are thrown above the emerald grass 
border. 

There go the whole band of them— little Sioux in pink 
and blue bathing suits. Involuntarily my fingers are at my 
shre laces, a matter of thirty years wiped off the slate by the 
necromancy of forgetfulm s. But I have brought my 
ferushw, to take my share of the sport in sedate seriousness. 
The bndge with its simple lines suggests tangible results 
1291 



The Lone Furrow 



with little perplexity of drawing. The ttrons tunlight lets 
forth the chiaroscuro in euy blocks. I go at it with full 
brush, with an indolent nonchalance that promises looseness 
and breadth. 

Blitz is making great hunting with his nose, reading the 
letter page of the night's writing. Just there where the 
eddies swirl, jewel-beaded, about the denuded roots of a 
pine stump, purple-gray from twenty years of weathering, 
ends the wondrous trail scent of some vulgarly perfumed 
traveler whom Blitz would like to reprimand for trespass. 
But the terrier's cogitatioi^ are cut short by Laddie, who, 
seizing him, plunges into the pool. When Blitz reappears 
upon the bank his aspect is so pathetic that Jean laughs. 

Ah I we are pleased with him evidently; and in a second 
he is at our feet, sending over us a shower of water. 

A red squirrel sits upon the fence and cocb his whis- 
kered nose inquiringly at the noisy animals that have come 
into his domain. " Chirrh-rh-rh I chuch, chuch!" Fatal 
note of expostulation ; unwise denunciation ; for Blitz, leav- 
ing the intangible record of an animal that has come and 
gone, a muskrat, speeds with whine of delight to little Reddy, 
whose plumelike tail, flipping so jauntily while he jeered at 
us slow-footed humans, is now straight out in the exigencies 
of flight. Fleet as he is, his route is a tortuous one; the 
rail fence is a series of recumbent triangles; his course is 
southeast by southwest, nautically diagramed. 

Now Blitz has headed him, a panel of the fence short of 
a tall elm, which was Reddy's objective. Back they come. 
The dog's eager yelp stirs the boy in me again; pallet dis- 
carded, I become an accomplice— not possessed of blood lust, 
but chasing up and down without thought of disaster to 
130 



The Lone Furrow 



harmle** Reddy. It is Doo-doo', paisionate cry of reproach 
that ^ vakerw me to the enormity of our onslaught. " I ought 
to be ashamed! " Indeed, I am. nc* that Doo-doo puts it 
that way And Bh'tz, who has clambered to the topmost rail. 
i» lifted down and most securely held close to the cake bas- 
ket, that he may forget. He is even tempted with a piece 
Of cruller which is his epitome of gastronomic indulgence 
I go back to my chromatic scrawl; my eye unblinded 
now. freed from the surcharge of color by the •iterruption 
takwcritical cognizance of this, my latest mournful failure. 
The sketching never comes to much at a West Branch 
pmuc. The trees, mighty elms, obdurately elbow too much 
of the landscape out of the canvas; I get no distance— every- 
thing IS in the front yard, and behind the front yard is 
nothing. There are no converging lines in field beyond 
field-at least I find none. And at close range the bunchy 
cedars symbolize the fiercely green trees that are in toy 
Noah s arks. 

The children have dressed by now, and like hornets 
swarm about the lunch that Sarah has spread upon a rug. 

" We are all ready for the tea," Memsahib calls; " light 
the fire." 

By Jove I I had forgotten it. Some dry twigs are quickly 
gathered; I put a finger and thumb in my vest pocket and 
find a pencil and two postage stamps-they are the stamps 
1 had looked for so earnestly in the morning. But now 
my search is for a match. Generally they are in at least 
three pockets, but now 

" Haven't you got a match? " Memsahib asks. 

I' I'm afraid-" I fumble. "Ah. by Jove! here's one. 
We ve got to be careful; I've got just one." 



The Lone Furrow 



There are some dry leaves and a whittled twig. As I 
kneel, the Memsahib holds my coat against the slight breeze, 
and Jean, and even Sarah, stand in tense attitude, watch- 
ing the momentous trial. I hold my breath and strike the 
match. It flares up deceitfully; one leaf is seared, and that 
is alL We've missed fire. 

"I've never seen it faU," the Memsahib remarks— 
"never! And we have forgotten something— the matches; 
I said we had— I knew it! " 

I sit in dejection. Casually I notice that there is a little 
glow of color in Jean's pale cheeks. The wondrous triviality 
of a match has drawn hei interest into forgetfulness; my 
panacea of hurly-burly is working splendidly. I had been 
all for a cup of tea, a souchong dipsomaniac; but now lemon- 
ade — any old thing will do, I cry. 

" My dear boy," objects the Memsahib, " you must think 
of us poor women. We've simply got to have tea. Jean 
needs a cup." 

" I've got a headache," declares Sarah. 
" How they do hammer a man when he's made a mis- 
take," I mutter. 

'' I can get a match," offers Laddie; " there's r'en work- 
ing in the field up on the hill— they'll have matches, 'cause 
they smoke." 

So away the boy goes, and is soon back; and presently 
the camp kettle is giving us a pibroch like faintly heard 
bagpipes pianissimo. Then there is spirit rapping from the 
lid; the imprisoned musician suggesting the possibility of 
moving great iron engines. 

We squat like Burmese Phoongyis about a pagoda that 
is a pyramid of sandwiches. We worship it till it vanishes; 
13a 



The Lone Furrow 

when, lo! the mango-tree trick is outdone-Sarah executes 
. mys^c p«s, «d a cake appears magically in its pl^^^ 

^httlZUr *' ''""^'•'' ^•"h-hels^tt 
than Hennmn-conjures up a lemon pie. We sit Lund 

w.ti, delight; table manners are at a discount; it is really 
* Pantomune play after all, ' 

The illusion is purely hypnotic, I know; otherwise why 
do« not n,y appetite slacken? I imagine I have eaten Ail' 
for I am still hungiy—we all are. ^' 

I am eating an unsubstantial, frail something, and Kippie 

triif-srhi^"^'' ""■" "^ --'"- -- ''^ ^- 1" 

"iJ^^f^^ "" ""f :* '""' ''"^^ *» «>"«» her ,vith 

l.iSfr"rBlir '• ''^'"^' ^"-^ "»' "- "^ - 

Bananas walk across the rug and languidly recline before 

litde valley that is between IXxhIoo and me, a wWrdoe 
« having a piece of cake. Immediately, ju t at my wf 

..«^^ '^"'* J*« « laughing, 
mo.r"' *' ^'*''" ' "'^ ^ ^-'- »>-• -*"« hu. 

"You are stirring your tea with a cruller, Father" 

D^^b«.rs false witness I declare. And hi ^ 

ev«. seen the tea poured. I must have been aslejj Z 

dre«n.ng, for the beverage wakens me. There is^tlu^g 

133 



The Lone Furrow 



unusual, absolutely nothing; there is only one little over- 
fed white terrier rolling contentedly in the grass, stu£Eed 
to the point of discomfort. 

"You'll have indigestion. Father," Doo-doo says, per- 
haps reading my thoughts. " Come and play squat tag. And 
you, too, Mother." 

The kindly cedars close in, holding their skirts wide to 
hide us from chance passers on the road as we play squat tag. 
Jean is drawn so far into it that she acts as umpire; just 
sipping at my medicine, I call it. But when my knees 
commence to ache from mtch squatting, I know diat my 
digestion is all right, and say so; and, lighting a cigar, 
stretch myself in the nestling grass, and watch the green fade 
from the little valley with its holding of hay meadows, and 
the pines that shutter its upper reach grow purple beneath 
the wine-red sky. 

In the east a harvest moon, copper-hued, draws itself 
lazily from the grasp of a holding hill. In fancy I see, 
winding down the blurred road-trail, brawny scythe men, 
their bare arms showing nut brown, and beside them trip 
maids that carry stone flagons and sheaves of grain. One 
maid's voice carries to my ears saying: " Come on, Father, 
wake up; we're going home now." 

"Gracious! was I asleep?" I query, in too frank un- 
wisdom, and they all laugh. 

Tlie long hill and all that has gone before tir«s Kippie's 
little legs, and taking her astride my shoulder we finish the 
pilgrimage marching gallantly up the center of the village 
street. 

As we swing through the Hedge, Jean Mghs. I know. 
For hours she has forgotten — almost; and now the shadow 



The Lone Furrow 



of d«p„r chides her for her lapse of memoo^. Just a little 
aftennath of depression, the dust crumbling back „to the 
footprints of exhilarated gambols. I an, vonderU S my 
nature panac« will allay the mind's spiritual illneL-wTu 
the sun and the youth elixir check the heart's revd^Thf, 

^f ««dde„ly into my vision like an apple blossom bu«rg 

its, ^ rJ:' T" " ^'^'^ ''■«'''• ««herto the vil! 
Au V ^ '^P'* *'«' ^ *'»°v.ed daily vocations 
»d Wi^ed in the church; but now the air w'asTaS 
with electnc currents of esoteric projectings. 

to ^Zl'^ Jf"' ""'^'" ^ ''"^' ""■*'' 'hastened 
to a greater Christianity nor submissive because of the 

•courge But I had been convinced that this w^ nothing 

l^^g ' *""* "^"" "'^ '"'^'«^ ''"•"8S. food- 
she f^»J''"' u *' Memsahib's bravely spoken optimism, 
she troubled much over Jean's spiritual vagaries. 

K„«; ^J^""^ •7'* "" *'""='' ■" •''' «»nvictions as John 
Knox; the stake if need be. but no wavering. She had 
always looked «kance at the Agnostic's philosophy-.he S 

was^cZr*.^^ ^"^ ?"^' '■''"*"'• ''" *« Memsahib 
was cross about it. When I maintained that the Major was 

^togeAer lovable in his nature she ignored his ^ZalT^ 

«d pitched upon the biting evil of his words; his cynic2 

ously. It wUl just give unkind tongues food fr. g^ip 



The Lone Furrow 



They'll sajr Jean is a backslider, that she's a friend of an 
enemy of the church. They won't understand her not at- 
tending worship, as we do; some of them could never under- 
stand the torture she would undergo facing the pulpit that 
to her would be empty. Besides, we can't advise the village 
that Jean is expecting a baby." 

" But it is going to be so difficult to hedge Jean about 
with a moral barrier that these strong throwers can't top 
with some missile," I answered despondently. " It will come 
to this, if we keep on, thai I'll have to put on the door 
a red card marked ' scarlet fever.' We'll be practically, so- 
cially, quarantined. Lord" Mess me I Allis," I broke in im- 
patiently, "Jean is a free jgent If she wishes to talk 
to a good clean man I can's JJrst catechize him on the articles 
of faith." 

Strangely enough I was arguing against myself, for I was 
really at one with the Memsahib on this question. 

"Well, I know one thing," the Memsahib added de- 
cisively, " that, wise as the Agnostic thinks he is, and clever 
as his Pagan books and papers may be, a little baby will 
make fools of them all. Jean can't feel chubby fingers 
. kneading her cheek, or the little warm arms about her nock, 
and believe in this heathenish thing. She'll be thanking 
God then for His mercy in sending her something to love. 
That will be her salvation from everything." 

" Or if Neil should be found— alive," I said. 

" Yes, but I can't believe that he will. How could any 
sane man go away from home and leave a woman like Jean — 
I mean, stay away? He might have gone, but if he were 
alive she should have heard from him." 

" But Munro wasn't sane, I'm sure," I interposed ; " Jean 



The Lone Furrow 






doesn't think him dead, and you believe as well a, I do that 
there .s something that she won't speak about." 

of it I'ctf "''"'•^r'"'^ "'y"'"'' I «"-» "« to think 
of It. I dose my mmd to everything but a .ope that he 

Lord s protectmg aue for the time till Jean's baby comi'' 

And won t that apply to the Agnostic's presence? It 

may help to keep Jean from brooding," '^ ^ ^' 

excitedk "Jr*^ •""* '^u'^^-" ^'•^ ""8''* •"« •>/ the arm 
«c.tedly, and pomtmg through the window said: "The 
Major « commg now, and Jean is on the lawn J^t ke« 
hun from talking about Christians and the folly "f ^W 

.^fS-J^'so^ru^-^^^^^^^^^^ 

«v!i^^"-^"'f. **^ **" "^^ y°" *^1 this, Doctor?" he 
«ked caxrymg himself, fruit, and question Arough^l gatl 

w« «U Preten^n h,s part, deliberately ate the mystery 

as Jjf T ^ r'' ^ '"^^^"'l' "»"'J that's about 
as strong as I am on horticulture" 

Th^e n^eJ hJ "'^?:^"°-" *e name of it; besides, 
l^l t, , ** **"""' "" """^"^^ befo«- I think if 

we'dXier"^' """'' '"' '"^°^ *' ^''"^ °^ *«»■ 

h.duXSir'^'"^""^"-^^^--*-'" 

« 137 



The Lone Furrow 



But Fate had been busy in the meantime, for, when I 
came back to the lawn, Jean from the hammock was carry- 
ing the Agnoctic along— -iihe was saying: '' If we would only 
speak from our absolute knowledge there would be fewer 
lies told." 

" Yes, we might well think more and talk less," I said, 
sitting down. 

"But you Christians condemn unbounded exercise of 
thought," the Agnostic added; " blind acceptance of formu- 
lated tenets, that's the superstructure raised upon a mytho- 
logical base." 

I was accustomed to this sort of thing, but I turned 
apprehensively toward Jean. In surprise I noticed that she 
was not even startled. 

" Indeed," she said, harking a little back to my speech, 
" after all, words are better than thoughts. It is the silent 
argument that makes cowards of us all; dragons can be 
explained away. If we could come face to face with every 
accusation, let ligjit in on every dark spot— well, it would 
be at least bri^ter. It is the cutting that lends beauty to 
die diamond; the noblest sentiment hidden in itself is of 
little avail; love unuttered is almost like a poison, it " 

Jean stopped suddenly, and taking up the trail of her 
startled eyes I discovered Bain's head just topping the hedge. 
He had come straight across the noiseless earth road; his 
solemn face, full to us, looked grotesquely droll, its seem- 
ing support the slender lilacs. 

I swung my hand toward the gate, and as Bain joined 
our group he had his usual alpha of conversation. 

"That was a fine shower last night," he said, as he 
took the camp stool I held toward him. "Yes, a fine 
138 



The Lone Furrow 



'f!-i 



I plS^to Z''"^'' """-'■• -•^-•^' value receive!! 

of 2ri^?e'"^^;,^;;'::t ^"r-^ " ?' «-»-- 

mented. " "^"''"« "» *«•" I com- 

c«ti^ wonderful becau« of its' 'extJe^eTpHc'Sr " 

.g£:;tsr.i-Tei-^^ 

th. Jl- .'^y "'*• ""''•* ** Agnostic exultandy; «aU 
Je te^Amg', for nothing. And yet Christians daL tZ 

D^JsTenLV""-"- ^«' '^'^ ^- *-«^"" *e 

Bain tf **"■'*". '^ ''"""^ * ^'^«^* A>"6" dedared 

^ "***^ "P- It » J««t « hopeless sophistry," Mai- 



The Lone Furrow 



colm added, after an aKEravating pause; "it's not strong 
enough to be dangerous, it's just hopeless-just hopelesfc" 
" How is that, man? " queried the Agnostic 
" Well, I'm thinking it wouldn't harm a strong, upri^t 
man much, that is, from the viewpoint of his fellows. You're 
•n example yourself. I'd be very wiUinp to vote for you 
if you were running for Parliament, for, as Antony said, 
You're an honorable man.' " 
" Thank you, Malcolm." 

"In that way there's little to choose between your way 
of thinking and my own, yr any other Christian's; but Chris- 
tianity, the Church, will pull a man out of the gutter. Poor 
weaklings— and the world is full of them— find the flabby 
muscles of their minds toughened and made strong by it; 
aye, even strong men that have gone weak, because of pres- 
sure, are brought back to moral health by the simple lesson 
that God loved such that are of that portion of the world 
so much that He sent His own son as bearer of this mes- 
sage of redemption, or help, or hope, whichever you dioose 
to call it. And that shows the use of Christianity, and 
the uselessness of Agnosticism, and the hopelessness of it, 
because I never yet knew a man that it found in the 
mire and sat him in the dean sweet-smeUing meadow 
of life." 

I stared at the heavy-headed man that was talking in 
the low, measured, earnest voice of one who relates a true 
happening of interest 

" Very fine, Malcolm," the Agnostic declared, " but it 

doesn't work out. What do we see here in the village in 

the way of religion? There's Mrs. MacConnick— I'll give 

you a sample of Church tuition. She's the strictest body 

140 



The Lone Furrow 



•n the whole Kirk-;„ the Kirk, mind you I mv J J, 
»he came to me two week, 1^/0,, -A u ^'' ^* '"" 
fined « order for . TlSr t\ ^'^""'^ ""' **- 
. pound in the .oL:Ct ZT^^'^ZT^r 

Byjovellgotoneof th«tlot"Isaid-"o„„„. u 
happened-I believe I know" ' ««""'' ^^at 

I wl'lZHVr ^"- .M«=Cormick you do know. 

';My turkey was the same," I concurred. 
,, Now, w„ that Christian dealing? " adced the Agnostic 
No. .t was not," declared Bain ; " and if it waT-rfo^ 
Aat^^e sort of thing, for the evil ;eakn^^^'^*J 

S'nSe?;; 2?." "" '~''^' ^''-^ teachingtSt 

;;B„t she's had a fair chance at Christian teaching." ' 

Aye, I don t know how she'U turn out. It tLes . 

kng .me w.ti. some of them; and a few I'm fe^edt'el 

come round-just hang off too late, and the Devil caX 

ment, too. for all their pretense." fu™«- 

141 



The Lone Furrow 



" li Mrs. M«cMillwi • Chri.ti«i? " uked the Agnoitic 
pointedly. 

" M«n divel I on lurdly wuwer for myKU-Vm dw«». 
ill doubt. 

"She't alway. .t pr^rer meeting; vid juit now .he'i 
ciying her eye. out becuK there', no regulw minbter." 

bhe» a bit trouble«)nie at time., I n,u.t admit," Mid 
Malcolm calmly; ".he", a pushing body. I think die like, 
to see the church in a prosperous condition." 

" She doe«,'t forget Mrs. MacMillan in the meantime. 
La.t week she brought a kukn of butter, pound prints. I'm 
« b^t suspiaous when they come around skipping the stores 
-there s generally something doing. ' Twenty-one cenu a 
pound,' quoted she. 

" ' I'm buying from the stores at twenty,' I said. 
• Where do they get their profit, for they offered me 
twenty? 'she queried. 

^^ AU right. Twenty cents cash'U do,' said she. 
I tasted the butter— it was fine; and carried it to the 
kitchen to eve her back her basket On the way I kept 
thinking: 'This can't be aU clear sailing-what's up any- 
way that she's come to me?' " 

" You're a suspicious man— you're lacking in faith," com- 
mented Bain dryly. 

"Aye; dealing with Christians." 

" I tuiTied a pound pattie of the butter over, hefting it 
m my hand, judging if the weight was short or not. It was 
« lovely yellow and solid as Jersey butter should be. Sud- 
denly I discovered a change of color on the bottom of the 
pattie; and there, like a silver medal-no, like a lead medal, 
14a 



The Lone Furrow 



WM « big wad of pale— well r^,j ki ^~~~~~~ 

by J«ve! but it wu rwk! " ^•' " *"" ""k" 

N.cod«,u, on the S JayVCl Lr l1! h"^ 1""" "^ 
to her «yi„g, . The houike^ ^iJ ^T t *''* ''"^« 
of butter, and jhe'i «».„!; ^?' ^''" * ">"«'»'> 

weather', hod'" ^^" "^ '^'"« "»» ^h^e the 

hous^keepTr ?^ '^" *' "*"' "^ «^«I « the good 

JH j..^. ..e, one fee. .. .JJ „ .ft'J^rerXS 

US .he^d : "^ ""* °« °^ •>" ^-^ - • minute 

^"'Bargain, f, like pie crust. n«de to be broke. I ,up. 

" ' Pie crust has lard in it— too ' T --m-.t-j 

;;;i don't unde„ta„d.' sa.d Z' """'"' "* *"*• 

churned^n%h^r^lir'' "^ ^''•^^^' -^e 
'•Did she take the hint?" Malcolm asked. 
She took the h,„t. basket, butter, and all. and flou««l 
143 



The Lone Furrow 



out of the home, very aiiKiy with me becaute the had fuled 
in dieating me, and now ihe't telling everybody I'm an 
atheist and worship graven images." 

"Aye," said Malcokn dryly, "and she'll not fool the 
Lord with the spurious article in her religion either. It's 
only the honest dealers that'll make trade with Him." 

"WeU, what do you make of diat?" queried the Ab- 
nostic. 

"Just nothing u regards religion; but it's sad to tee 
mdividuals too near in a bargain. I've seen a cow on a 
farm that was what they call a robber cow; she'd eat u 
much as any of them, and look slick and contented, but 
she'd be a bad milker, and inferior quality at that. But the 
fanner would not give up butter making and condemn the 
^^ole business. Generally he'd turn the robber into beef. 
We can't do that with the delinquents in the Church, of 
course, but we can utilize them in tome other way. Now, 
the lady you speak of will do more to make a chureh todal 
a tuccets than any other woman in the congregation; and, 
thouj* you mightn't believ- it, the't a free giver to mis- 
sions and all calls on the purse." 

"Missions I" snorted the Agnostic. "They'U give to 
mitsions, to the heathen in Africa or India. Aye, and didn't 
they let that poor body, Jennie Stubbs, starve to death, be- 
cause her brother drank all his money and wouldn't tuo- 
port her?" 

..T."' '''^."'* ^*^ "^ *** '" *""'•" «w^«d Malcolm; 
I m afraid there's tome truth in it." 

" What's your opinion of missions? " asked the Agnostic, 
turning to me; "you've been in India, Cameron." 

" I haven't much faith in them," I answered candidly 
144 



The Lone Furrow 



jwu^. I know in Clcutu „o« ol the SiAib. wouW 

in tbe end he looted me thoroughly." 

iect Jll*"^'l*^''""'""'''y "■« ™^* '"■"' ''•d though " ob. 
jectedBwn <'hew«,in,pIyab«lChriM,W 

.•ndige.t.on S ike feedi^l' '* "" '" ""^"^ ""■"♦"•» 
♦I.:. • ■ . 'eeding a nce-eater upon canned hr^f 

thi. intistent swap of religions." '' 

;; Religions? " quoted Malcolm-" they're pagan,." 
BuAA^^T '^' °^ "■• '"'''■«' ™« I ever iSlw was . 

^t^^n^:'^'''-S'T'' having carried mTb^Jto 
■ „** "'«™«>'y— "one Pathenine." 

. beli^rJi;"''''' *"'' •'' '^'"'"*"' " Christianity or 

Buj1'"»'"',^ " '^'^" ^ "''J'"''*' " •■' ^« hi* faith in the 
Buddhajrehpon hich is not «. very dissimilar ^ ot 

me„t.?!l' T'** *« »^P'« f««h be sufficient for the higher 
n«nu^ devekpment that people living in America or EuSS 
P«««»? queried Bam. " It may have held good in yoJ! 

B«, Jl • fl. u "^ ""*•■ ""^ '^*' ""hier in the Bank of 

S/L^fi"'""''^ """• ""'' • «- «''-^«-"- 

Agnostic, John Lancey. I mention his case to disprove 
H5 



The Lone Furrow 



your arguirent, Cameron, that a man must believe in the 
Unseen to be superlatively good in the evident For twenty 
years John was never inside a church, and when he died 
every man, woman, and child was at his funeral, and it 
was felt that the sweetest, most honorable man in the whole 
village had gone!" 

" He was a rare man," affirmed Malcolm. " If ever there 
was a human that didn't need spiritual sustaining it was Lan- 
cey. But that state was not because he didn't accept religion : 
it was because he didn't know how to be bad, he was bred ab- 
solutely right. His mothei* and his father were Church peo- 
ple, and he never went wrong. But there's Crowley, and 
there's Blake, and Smiley, and MacPhedran— they were 
vomiting their souls into the Devil's caldron, that's what 
they were doing. Godl man. I've seen them tfll my heart 
ached. They were good workmen— Crowley was as fine a 
carpenter as ever drove a plane, but the drink turned him into 
a poor, useless tool, and a demon to his family. And what 
saved them— they're men now? Was it teaching them there 
was no God to look after them? No, a servant of God "— 
Bain lowered his voice till it fell short of Jean's ears and 
whispered, " Neil Munro— with the power of God over him, 
pulled those weaklings back from the mouth of the pit, and if 
you asked them to go back to the old life because some one it; 
the church had cheated, they'd look on you as insane." 

" You mustn't count me on your side," I said laughingly 
to the Agnostic; " though I have little faith in the missions, 
yet, like Bain here, I think we'd be veiy badly off without 
something to make fast to. Life is an erratic flood, and we're 
cockle-shell craft at best." 

"God is indeed deified by some," the Agnostic asserted; 
146 



The Lone Furrow 



" good results are attributed to H.s influence, and bad hapoen- 
■n^ to the Evil One's machinations. The ^en you sZ of 

o::rro„.?s;^^ ^^^ "^ - "^'-^ •"■^^« -^ *«' 

I felt a hand on my shoulder. Bain and the Aonn.t.v 

'°%^°*^''"- ""^ '^"^' M"- C«n«™n7 '^""' 

The Memsahib, leaning over the bench back, said, to mv 

«tc«.A«ent, .„ an even tone: " Don't let me interru^; yo^ 

the Idea of continuing in the presence of the Memsahib 

are rl'^T.^f '^^"^'.' ^^ ~"''""'''' " *«' "^P^'C «sults 
are credited often to visionary causes; an argument without 
correla^ve proof must be weak : it's like believTng in da^:;! 
ants and sp.ntual.sts. There is no such thing as influeni 
TT "n' °?" '^ *"' "•"■'='• «- •- conveyed m^"" 
tew, «,d having seen pa.n removed or alleviated, we get hope • 
and we come to have faith in others by having s^ £ 
wo^ojmetru. H-eosophists, with their MaLrastd 
their «otenc projections, are not greater humbugs than some 
o?a S^ who Juggle with God's spirit, using it « , ^^, 

°he mT ' Z """^ r*°*'=^ °* nonexistence rendering i 
the rn^e terrible to those who dread the unseen, the un- 

'2°" •»««, Major, that there's no interchange of spirit 
mflu«ce «cept by words, or sight, or touch-in fit, th. 1 

other, outs.de of one of these three manifestations, to prove 

you are wrong, for instance? " the Memsahib asked quietlT^ 

147 



The Lone Furrow 



!iat's my point of view.' 



" Yes, Mrs. Cameron; I think 

" Well, Major, if you will kindly come with me to the 
nunery I think I can convince you that there is still something 
in the universe your logic cannot account for. And we must 
have the others as witnesses." 

The Memsahib smHed very gently into my wondering eyes 
as we rose to follow her lead. I was glad to see Jean come 
as eagerly as the others. 

Upstairs, our footsteps hushed by a strange expectancy, 
we crept noiselessly, and at the nursery door Memsahib put 
a finger to her lips warningly. We tiptoed gently into the 
room and the Memsahib pointed toward the cot upon which 
the twins, Elsie and Beatrice, were lying asleep. At once I 
understood her strategy, for we had often discussed in won- 
derment the phenomenal unity of spirit that governed the lit- 
tle girls' actions. 

One twin was a replica of the other in posture. They 
were lying on their left sides, exactly alike; left hand under 
cheek, and the right folded sweetly across a plump little chest, 
even the restful droop of each head was the same. 

It was not necessary for the Memsahib to speak. The 
Agnostic took in the fuU significant beauty of the scene, and 
I think It su£Fused his being with the same gentle wonderment 
that It did ours. 

But Memsahib was only half done with her experiment. 
She rocked the foot of the cot gently back and forth on its 
castors; just enough to half rouse the little ones from their 
deep slumber. With a deeper breath, a little sigh, Elsie un- 
curled her arms, and turning over, rested with one chubby 
hand folded over the other. While one could count five v.« 
stood in breathless suspense, waiting— we all understood. 
14S 



The Lone Furrow 



Wth what fntenMV I watched a sign of compliance from 
Bee. Ah I I could have shouted in triumph, for, as if cJw 

eih'oTrlhl"^?'''""'' '"""''''• "-fi"^""^^?^ 
eacn other, then they, too, were united. 

Memsahib put the light cover softly over tho MttU 

«d turning, I saw two great tea„ peariinTi^l's 't ' 

S^rSlZr*^-"-'^'-'^-^'.^^^^^^^^^^ 

Outside the Major said: "Thank vou Mr. r 
that;s Ae most beautiful sight I havrL^L^" ''"""°"'" 
Ves, the Memsahib answered, " from die first » R,R. 

" "fH:t^^^''-"'T'''- ""'^ '^' -" isthe'lSnt 
sd"wh» hI-. T5' r:"""' ^■«'°"' -f J«us asserted it- 
self when He said, Suflfer little children to come unto me ' 
for there ,s no element in the world so powerful to dle- 

eroSiSrL-r^'^—^-dasthri::. 

pe Memsahi^'s object lesson had the curious effect of 
causmg the argument to pass into oblivion. 

The Major, whether he felt defeat or not, had the deli- 

tne weet ending by remaining theologically silent; in fact 

tw.-:rft;rri"'z;^"''''"'" ^^ -■^' "-" '«' 

' Nobody can," claimed Memsahib veiy proudly; " I an, 
H9 



11] 



The Lone Furrow 



«lw.y, being corrected myself by one or the other for n„V 

ZSi ;.' ""k ""^"^ '^'"''' ' ^'^ -' Ebie. MotE^ 
nJ^e '%' ■ ' ^.V^'l **'^»^'"- ^" *»«. to the family, the 
n«ne Jwrnme ' h« become ab«lutely nece«.n^. ItVh„! 

I:;t"s•o;^„T'"'■""*^^^'■""•■''-*^^ 

.._• Tr ""Kc. wying. 1 ney always weigh exactly the 
«ne. If one becomes ill the other seems to faU awt^„ fl^J 
too; we've never found them an ounce apart." 
the ott"r '* "• " **'' «'y*'''K-"e«les, or cold, or croup, 
Lhl r 'uT .*'* ^ '■'•" ^«^''»' '"tcrposed. "T 
Bee hurtt her*lf. Elsie cries, «,d if Elsie is sent^e; room 
in Pun«hment, Bee goes and «ts with her." 

^a^;; do" Z .^r.^^ri;?^'^-" ^' ^- 

^About who's who?" questioned the Major, with a 
" One of their quarrels was about-weU, it was this wav 

a«n«ymg. When she went to the nursery she found they 
WM«outover the momentous question as to wWchhS 

Aem Swrf, hao to count, and Bee. defeated, m«ie it C« 
«*y by contending that she had more on her ^. )^Z 

see Bee.' " ^ ^"^ "lere f She promptly answered, ' I 



150 



The L one Furrow 

from the Srlb '^^ •*"• ""^•"""^ » "''-«' -'•« 

" I'm being eclipsed," I retorted " Wfc^ t *: . 

«^^^::t^:?re;--^^^ 

n,ovf at7 '" ' '"'" "^" *« '^*«' -''-'•"« the Major to 
met^l^t.' ^^^ ^' * "** ^' "^^ his materialistic areu- 

" What's the meeting about, Bain ? " I asked 
A section are determined to extend a call to the Rev 
Donald Grey, and I've got to fight against it Tf thevl^* 
the.r way they'U have fine punishment c^ing hough foTh!^ 

rzrmt:;it;::^«*--"— --^^^^^^^^^ 
up ^:.liztLT "^ •■"" *' •""•-• -«' J- '«'^«' 

title- wVT*'"' *:*"'" ^""'■'" I «"■<«• '«d'n«J the 
claL „/?*.?' «'"t velocity of the spimiing top to the 

SSrs iketi ? •""' , ''' ""'' "°"*'"^ how -lemn 
villagers hke the hysterical in fiction ; I dare say Corelli has a 
Iweer constituency here than Dickens." 
swelf'^^'v ^"^r^ "ertorous in his hysterics," Jean an- 

S«al ' T ^""' '■* '«^*'"«^' »he is hereticd. 
d«ot«^al, emotion^, vivacious, dull, clever, stupid-I s^ 

tnat we could find nght here in our own village, speaking a 
151 






The Lone Furrow 



difiEerent language, a different cut to their coats; and some of 
Marie's people are altogether as small of soul — as vile in their 
Cainlike brotherhood as some we have." 

" You are still listening, Jean, to the voices of the after- 
noon, the one voice. The Agnostic's tongue leaves a sting 
that festers. Why can't you remember just the beautiful, the 
simple discomfiture of the wise man by babes? That's really 
God's answer to such dungs — ' by works shall ye know 
them.' Could the Agnostic, or the philosophic writers he 
quotes from, create one alleviating panacea for the heart-sick- 
ness of the world ? " i 

" The life here is beautiful. Doctor; the children keep my 
heart from starving; I sit in the shadow and they com? with 
their little hands and draw me forth into the sunshine, and 
when their hands release me I go back into the vale of dark 
shades." 

" But the shadow will be all sunshine when the Creator 
lets the full light in." 

" When I yes. But why should God wait until it is too 
late? Why do graves yawn openly to close over drunkards 
too late? Why was my brother bom to go down the aisle of 
life between pews holding saintly ones pointing the finger of 
scorn at him? What has He done for me? Since I was bom 
I have heard little else but talk of church and worship and 
death, and I have tried to accept what the others profess to 
take with closed eyes of belief. Why do I now doubt — why 
can't I accept it as His wise will — ^what have I left undone 
that a human being could have done to become reconciled to 
God's wQl? I believe I sacrificed my earthly self to save my 
soul. My husband did give himself absolutely to the Lord's 
work, and could the Lord help him — did He try? " 
152 



The Lone Furrow 



" I don't understand, Jean." 

" No, you don't; you don't know, and you think I'm rebel- 
lious throu^ lack of grace. But what is to soften me? If 
the Maker's love is a relentless persecuting semblance of hate 
and destruction how am I to incline my heart toward Him? " 
" I must keep the Agnostic away, Jean," I said firmly; 
" he's doing you harm." 

" The Agnostic is as powerless, as ineffectual one way or 
the other, as are the revilers or the consolers across the way; 
just words they utter, meaningless words. It is the terrible 
actualities, the fearful ruin of the bodies and souls of those 
I love that bums my heart to ash, and withers my own soul 
till it is but a torturing spirit." 

Jean saw in my eyes the pain her words caused, and the 
heart she had spoken of as ash throbbed warm and generous 
in an instant. She put her hand on my arm, and leaned her 
face dose under mine, her big black eyes welled full of tears 
as she pleaded: " Forgive me— I pain you; I am weak, mis- 
erably ungrateful for your care. O my God! how can I 
keep in faith or hope! You would pity me more than you do 
if I could tell you everything, but I can't — ^I can't; I'm 
so alone!" 

" You're with friends, Jean; you're not alone." 

" I know I have friends here at the Hedge, but I am like 
a stranger in a great dty; he sees faces and forms— they 
throng about him — they encompass him on every side, but he 
can't go to them and lay his heart bare." 

" If it will do you good, Jean, you can confide in me, tell 
me everything." 

" I can't — I can't I I must just sit in solitude — there is no 
one." 



11 



153 



The Lone Furrow 



"There if God." I said. 

" No, not even Him. I cuinot be • hypocrite, uk Him to 
help me, and rebellion in my heart. I have been tried till I 
am broken. Nothing but destruction for all that I love. I 
am like Rachael weeping in the wilderness for her children 
—desolate; and out of the wilderness come not word* or 
Christian sympathy, but a mocking echo like the voice of 
Bildad the Shuhite ciying to Job that the affliction the Lord 
had put upon him was because of his sins. Here in the vil- 
Uge are many Bildads seeking to put shame upon the name 
of a man who wore his soul threadbare to make clear the way 
of righteousness to them." 

At once I knew. I sprang to my feet and paced the Uwn, 
schooling my mind to words that would take the sting out of 
this serpent touch. Jean had at last heard of the village «>»- 
«ip, I knew. 

" That can't be so," I said at last in desperation; " they 
couldu t speak ill of Neil. Confide in me," I pleaded; " teU 
me what it is." 

She handed me a letter, saying: " Read this, please. Doc- 
tor, and teU me what I am to do. I must have some one to 
talk to me about it. My mind is now drowning in a sea of 
trouble*— I must cling to somebody or I shall sink." 

Jean left me, passing swiftly into the house, and I knew 
that the fierce storm that raged in her heart had driven up a 
rain of tears. It would be a blessed relief. 

I apostrophized the letter— "So you are the luAing 
devil." Unopened it scorched my hand— its poison oozed 
througji the falsely dainty envelope. " A she-devil's work ! " 
I muttered-" the heartlessness of the sisterhood! " 

The mauvfrcolored envelope suggested to me the blue- 
154 



The Lone Furrow 



cowled monkihood that flaunts its purole bell. ,t^ 

one has had a letter——" 

No, It s from a Witch of Endor." I drew Jean's lett... 
from «y Jacket, but the Memsahib f«,ded kTwirt tl^J 
J^d. -yin,: "I wt touch it-no. no, tTLI^'^ 

" It's about Bain; and that people are blamine her fo, 

"What does Jean say?" 

bor^'S^inTl'r""''^'""'^ She'slikearunawa, 
" Does she blame anyone for it? " 

"Whom?" 

"God." 

'[ J** ' What are you saying, husband ? " 

It s the Agnostic's fault," Memsahib declared. 



The Lone Furrow 



" No, it'f the fault of the Beheven. She pUce. „ little 
KliMce on the AgnoMic'i deductions u I do; but JeM,', a wo- 

ZblilS" "'• "' •^'' '"'"'■"'' '■" ** ^' -' ^ 

•' Give me the letter; HI luk Jew to bum it" 

of A.t «cnfiad ofennj I think I'll burn thi. te«pe.tuou. 
hwL Mwe Corell. «ul her viritud exotic we not the best 
thing for Jew m her prewnt ttate." I decided, picking up the 

nZl n^w • "• r" "*""" ""^ •"'•'»• Give ™e the 
novel. I U uke .t up to Jew. It might r«n »,d .poU it" 

„, M "?• A ^.f"^^, ""'* •^'" ** destruction of one 

that she couldn t turn mto . p.th of good. «,d this would be 
utilized ., . pie. for ent^r to Jean', room, with much gentle 
consolmg sympathy. ' 

At nine o'clock in the evening Bain called just long 
enough to tell me about the meeting of the elders. 

" Man. but they were obdurate." he said. " Those that 
were for keeping the pulpit for Munro had been forced to 
give m for the sake of peace in the church, and were for ex- 
tendmg a call to the Reverend Grey. The best I could do 
WW a compromise, a month as we are, with Supply. ,„d then, 
If Neil .s not found, we're to give Grey a call. I got the 
month by standing out against the little busybody; then I 
agreed to having him in exchange for a month's wait" 



I5» 





CHAPTER X 

IT was after thj, f«hIo„ that day, ,ucc«d,H 
(«ch other at Lil«: Hedge. ThTwe^rS 
weather indfcator that varied it. LTw; J ,' 
n.ospher.c ch«,ge. «,«e bright-the drv^th.; 
darkened by 'J2a ^^^^^^r' '"' ''^^^^ 
note either oft^i"', j'^p^Ir "' """'"^' "° '^-^- 

effectofa«..JbersS.;L J«h T' *' *''P'«"»«t 
<l«rk, rainlew cloud S^mT^ r ^'"""'^ "^^ °" l"-"!'. • 

-.7. like a fie^r/ JZ: t;t2; tl t •""""' "' "^ 
would have cleared the a^ipC "" '^"""^ ^°"''' 

because of Se rsSv^biri T "' T ^'' ''^- ^ot only 

157 



m 



The Lone Furrow 



10 from • plcaicd icdtal of the many little thingi that were 
•Iwajrt turning up a* help*, the paiMd into a critidtm of the 
inefficacy of thtt which should have been her real tuitaining 
force — Chriitianity, or ipcdiically the Church and the 
Church people. 

This WM particularly dittretiing to the Menuahib; not 
only on account of her faith in God't wiie protective power, 
but becauie of it* ultimate evil effect upon Jean't peace of 
mind. So the combated the morbid one't reflection* *turdily. 
I heard her Mying in a retolute, well-modulated tone: " Jean, 
the very things you tpdUc of a* being helpful, are they not of 
God't ordering too? I* He only a Being of *hadow— doet 
He only exitt in the pretent trialt you have, and which will 
P«» •^•y? I» not the tunthine Hit; the flowert; the beau- 
tiful little valley with its tilver ttream where you were almott 
happy the other day? If we help brighten your life here are 
not we of God't creation— doet not He give ut the power 
to do the little we have done? The children, are not they of 

the Creator't giving? And your own baby, Jean " 

I taw the Memtahib put her hand upon Jean't cheek, and 
turn her hce within reach of a kit*—" hasn't God been merci- 
ful and kind to you to give you tomething tweet to live for? 
And when your baby it in your armt I know what you'll do, 
Jean; you'll jutt thank Him for the gift And that little 
baby will do for you jutt what the infant Chritt did for the 
world — reconcile you to your Maker. That one thougjit 
thould keep you safe from all doubts, make you brave to stand 
all that may come to you in your hour of trial." 

What sophistical logic could stand againtt that plea? It 
teemed to me that the Memtahib't wite purity of thought wm 
like the undimable beauty of the Pleiades in their unchange- 
158 



The Lone Furrow 



u ""T *' ^"^ '^"'•■*"' ^"y^ count ud in- 
wor^ly .teadfa.t » uncJwnge.ble. A. it i. in the book of 
Job: Cm.t thou bind the tweet influence of the Plei«ie^ or 
looM the bMdi of Orion ? " 

Litttning fhed • new light upon the v«lue of dut which 
Ilwd deemed but a cuual trinipiring of little h«t pn.ingN. 
Were we dl itar. in • firmwient of dettiny folloiv ,.f, „ut ,„ 
ordered routine, or wu it ju*t the necromancy of M«.nahib'- 
•impie e«rne.tne» that gilded the trivial episodes with :he 
gold leaf of dignified value? 

In fact, I needed the mental tonic that carried in her 
word,, almost a. much a. did Je«,, for I wa. beginning ,o 
find thi. forced absorption in the small things of daily life 
making sad inroads into my power of, what I was pleased to 
all, real work. My novel which Doctor Monteith had 
Pnwed so valiantly had, owing to its comatose state in the 
bo<A market, all but guUlotined my prospects. Publishers- 
earing little for merit, that is, the merit which eveiy author 
believes hu work holds— are indissolubly wedded to the mone- 
tary value of a book; the public are the sole arbiters of the 
penman's fate, unless, of course, he is either so rich that he 
CM continue his writing as a pleasurable exercise, or so poor 
that ^ u willing to die at any time and leave the boob to 
wait for the generation they are written for. Of course 
even then, it is but an advanced section of the omnipotent 
Public. 

But there, sitting by the open window, surrounded by my 
defeated literary soldiers, I stole a portion of the stimulus of 
bravery that Memsahib was lavishing, out of her fullness, 
upon Jean, and formulated a heterogeneous plan. I would 
keep pegging away with the quill, and impress into our mis- 
159 



if 



The Lone Furrow 



«ion of susuining Je«n all the episodes of distraction I could 
lay hands upon, accidental or premeditated. 

Thus alert, these wished-for mind simples came tumul- 
tuously, sad I built a barricade of them to wall out the 
skeleton. 

One day we made a discovery that, in the spring, David 
had planted M emsahib's bulbs upside down. Lilies long over- 
due are an invisible irritant, generally ending in a delve of dis- 
covery; and Memsahib, who had faithfully watered the abid- 
ing place of these sluggish tubulars, her patience now ex- 
hausted, solved the m^tery with a trowel. There were the 
blanched shoots of the rare bulbs patiently retracing their 
steps, after a futile journey downward in search of the home 
of their infancy, China. 

We all laughed — even Jean — except Memsahib, who 
looked very reproachfully at David. 

David was general handy man about the village, consid- 
erably more of an expert at spade work than artistic gar- 
dening. Indeed his very excelling profession was sawing 
wood; he held some sort of a record for this, having sawn 
and ^lit a cord of wood in a fabulously short time in a 
competition. 

David was present when Memsahib unearthed the re- 
versed bulbs and seemed as much astonished and perplexed as 
anyone could well be. He took off his straw hat, rubbed a 
hand acniss his wrinkled brow, puckered his lips, and at first 
could only think of his favorite expression, " Well I'm gol- 
danged I if that don't beat all I " 

This suggested something else and he added : " And me so 
careful wit' 'em, too, I remember as well as if 'twas yester- 
day, I wet me thumb and rubbed the pimply end of that root 
1 60 



The Lone Furrow 



a-lookin- fer the «ed pod." He illustrated this by rubbing hi, 
chin Something came of this process, for he brightened up 
with a plausible explanation of the mystery. " Well I'm 
gol-danged-l might a-knowedl I don't like to say nothin' 
•bout a man in the same line of business, but I'll bet anything 
I know the vtry duck as nimed 'em roots over. I ain't men- 
tionin no names "-and David winked «>lemnly at me- 
but he done it right 'nough. 'Tan't the first dirty trick he's 
pUjfed me. 

As old Joe Haney was the only other " man in the same 
hne o bus.ne«," we felt that he stood convicted. At any rate. 
David trudged away quite satisfied that he had turned his un- 
fortunate mistake to profitable account, and had put a spoke 
m his rival's wheel. 

Some of our household was always having more or less 
business with David. I think as a rule the profit leaned hi, 
way, while the lightsome pleasure was ours. 

Hi, own little garden fairly bristled with old-fashioned 

flower,, and literally, David considered that a bloom would 

smell a, weet by any other name, for he spokt of the na,- 

turtiums as the "excursions," poppies-this was excusablen- 

were puppies," and the magnolia tree that bloomed on my 

premiMs caused him many a rapturous tribute to its beautiful 

_ «»Jia blos«>ms." He always spoke of the ,hrubs as 

scrubs ; the nicotine, in spite of its immaculate purity-sue- 

gwting white flowers, to David was " Nicodemus." alyssum 

wa, LiMie 'em." In fact he had a wonderful vocabulary of 

popular names. 

wv?'r^7"i'' '"'" ""^* » ^'^^ P°l'»'<^ economist. 

With the little house he had rented the land was thrown in as 

of no account. Having the land, David borrows a horse from 

i6i 



The Lone Furrow 



one man, a plow from another, and, lo! he has a garden. 
Then he acquires seed potatoes on shares. 

This summer he and Doo-doo combined over a wondrous 
deal. David had a clutch of bantam eggs from somebody, to 
hatch out on royalty, but no hen to undertake the job. One 
of my Plymouth Rocks, possessed of the mother instinct, had 
made herself so great a nuisance, interfering with her sis- 
ters who were keeping our table supplied, that she had 
been given two door knobs and a glass egg in a nest all by 
herself. 

Her ready acceptaiice of these unfecundible toys conveyed 
the impression that Burroughs is right, that animals are not 
as wise as we think them. 

I believe that David had his eye on this hen when he ao 
quired that clutch of tiny eggs, for he fired Doo^oo's im- 
agination with the delight of having a pair of " banties," until 
she borrowed the old hen from me, and formed a partnership 
with the gardener. 

If the old hen had known anything of ornithology, I am 
sure she would have thought that a cuckoo had deceived 
David and herself when the brood of tiny chicks swarmed 
about her like overgrown sparrows. 

This deal fructified into a distraction for Lilac Hedge 
when David brought Doo-doo her allotment, a chipper little 
cock and a demure gray hen creature. But the dwellers in the 
hen village, which was the stable and yard, were as cruel as 
humans: they would none of the small strangers. Among 
themselves the big full-bodied Rocks picked at and bulUed 
each other, but they all united in aversion to the helpless 
mites. Instead of joy the banties brought sorrow and tears 
to sympathetic E>oo-doo. Indeed, their condition was pitiful; 
162 



The Lone Furrow 



they were l.ke two child waifa thrown on the tender mercy of 
a oty. In p,q, I built a cage for them, and they were in- 
stall ,n a comer of the veranda, and soon were as much at 
home as the dogs, or the cricket, the cage door often left open 
tor them lo stretch their legs. 

'"« "^'" »»W us his name was " Chuck "; many times 

/u- "^.'"'^ "• ^''"* '='"'=k' '=''"ck. chuck, chuck! " 
and his wee brown wife would plaintively add, " I am Pee- 
wee, pee-wee, pee-wee! " 

The day Chuck discovered me in my study— we had be- 
come gr«t friends-he was filled with joy. " Chuck, chuck I 
here he is-here he is! " he yelled; and the wife^he had 
wandered far down the dark cavern of the hall-came on the 
run, crying, " Pee-wee, pee-wee! " 

I liked them, because any little misdemeanor was soon 
put right, and they told me no temper-trying stories of scan- 
dal, and, I knew, considered me quite as great a man as was 
anywhere in the world. 

It was something to lift Jean out of a brooding fit, to call 
her to see Chuck roosted on my chair, or, in the evening, when 
he should have been in bed, bathing himself in the glow of my 
grate fire. 

She even laughed a strong audible chuckle at sight of 
Chuck on one of my knees, and Blitz on the other, the 
terner tremendously jealous. I was really a Mountebank, 
a psychological juggler, pitting little simples of this order 
against such migfity interests as Jean's heart-trying be- 
dw^Td"'' '"'' ^^ """"'•"'■"K in the slough of theological 

My idea was to leave those two subjects alone, if I could 
believing, with the Mmsahib. that when Jean's baby came 
163 



1,1] 



The Lone Furrow 



we could all give a great sigh of relief, knowing that the wite 
gossips, and harsh fate had all been confounded. 

The mysteiy over Neil would dear itself up or not just 
as God decreed. All that could be done in the way of find- 
ing him had been, and was being done. 




164 





CHAPTER XI 

[HEN I told the Memsahib of Bain's month of 

graav-ju8t four Sabbath, in which the pulpit 

would be held casud, ,he gave way to a fit of 

despair; the tears welled up. and made violet 

, blue-gray of her eyes. 

month^-t wouldn't mauer. not in^rsT; w!;?'"'''^'' 

Whatw>lbetheefiectonJean?"Iasked. "Perhaps 

her^«.olt ag^nst the Church will lessen the force o7 th^ 

hnJ ^tTi^'J. ^•"- ^''''" "^' " *« *ey've given up 
.tTb ? ' "Tf '''■^'' *«'^ -»•" ^'"' *inWng of And 
nave the Rev. Grey coming to the Hedge." 

Alas for the Memsahib's unwillingness to entertain th,. 

qu.te took the matter out of our hands by assuming the role 
of^.p.n^al consoer to Ae wife of him he was pUd L 

•^ng to «,ften h.s own nest with the down of her quiescent 
acceptance of his Pastorate. H"i«aceni 

165 



The Lone Furrow 



It was the day followiag hi* fint temporal occupation of 
the pulpit that he called upon Jean, to impren upon her the 
•olace that was to be found in a meek acceptance of the cross 
God had put upon her. 

Unfortunately for Lis mission, Jean detected that he had 
been primed and was really come to school her, and for his 
own benefit. 

I think he was a bigot. Bain had hinted as much. Jean 
knew as well as we did that she needed buoying up with hope. 
I think she would have clutched eagerly at even false hope. 

"Tell me that Neil is not dead— say it again I " That 
was the cry of her desoWte heart; and when the narrow little 
schemer talked of resignation, she gave him an uncomfortable 
quarter of an hour. 

I didn't hear it, nobody did, for we had discreetly left 
them alone in my study. In fact, I rather fanded the rousing 
of combative energy in Jean virould do her good; the little 
minister would help her in a way he had not intended. 

However, his face told the story of his non-success, as he 
left, and the tails of his black coat appeared to jetk anath- 
emas at the depraved people of Lilac Hedge as he stalked 
crossly up the street. 

Jean had been strong enough for the officious minister, 
but when he had gone inevitable reaction cast her prone, face 
buried in a pillow, where she was found by the Memsahib. 

The Reverend Grey was still in sight as the Agnostic 
came leisurely along under the maples, and leaned up against 
my gate, nodding to me pleasantly as I stood on the lawn. 
I believe he had been waiting for the departure of the min- 
ister. 

' Yon is a sample of a man's serving two matters," the 
1 66 



The Lone Furrow 



ifL "" ""^ *'"-P»n voice." 

marked.' ''*'" "'"'"'^ " ^"^ '"'"*'* '" **«• Munn,." I «. 

h,r " ^'t ' ^"^ ••' ""^ *" B°«l »«« to tnr to brighten 
her up a bjt. but .V, J„o,t certain he didn't." 

pretty L?^'"* "" *''^''" """''' «°' ^°" •'"'« ""« down 

h.jl!!'™''' !^*."«"ly « Sweeny's words. The tean»ter 
h-d been putting in . load of coal, «,d coding with tl^.Tr 

^»^^ '"^ '^'"■"'' '^ "-^ "•-•"/- *e w 

«,«^"*.*T'""' '" ^"""«''' •••"' I"* "y^ w« always 
sufficient to disarm resentment with me. » '"'vays 

.HH^J^'''-^ ^-""^ r" '^""""'' ''"^'^ P"'«y «'«»." Sweeny 

1 t^ • Jr"* ^'"' "^^ "^^ *' ♦"»•"' down to Plymp- 
ton tiym to bury a man afore he was dead." 

167 



The Lone Furrow 



I 



" That's a grewwine subject for a joke, Sweeny," I re- 
monstrated. 

" I tell you, b'ys, it's no joke, it's the God's truth, I 
wu there mesilf at the time. Jack Cavana^ that kept the 
tavern at Kelly's Comers ei^f^t miles beyond Plympton, got 
hurted wit' a runaway team, an' he was purty bad. A man 
comes up to the G>rners from Plympton S<i urday momin' an' 
says Jack ain't got an hour to live. 

" Minister Grey — Man alive! you . luldn't have a litter 
of pups bom in Plympton but he'd know of it — he gets to 
hear that Cavanagh is dyin'. Then he gets frettin' fer fear 
the Sabbath'd be desecrated by diggin' a grave Sunday if they 
waited to hear final from Kelly's Comers. You see, b'ys, 
Cavanagh'd have to be tuk up to Plympton fer plantin'. So 
the Minister tells old man Woolly that's in charge of the 
buryin' ground, to dig a grave fer Cavanagh ; an' Woolly, 
thinkin' Cavanaj^ is dead, tells everybody. You see it was 
terrible hot weather, fierce I I 'member I was hauling gravd 
on the Town line, an' the horses'd sweat sunding still till 
there'd be little puddles of water at their feet. Well, that's 
what their hurry was about, he'd have to be buried Sunday. 
So all his friends in Plympton — an' he had a swarm of 'em — 
passes the word, an' goes off down to Kelly's Comer* fer 
the funeral. I'm not sure, but I think the undertaker got 
word an' went. Anyway — to make a long story short, there 
was Cavanagh sitiin' up in bed takin' nourishment, just 
cheatin' the hole in the ground they dug fer him. An' he got 
all ri^t, too. Snakes! but there was a row akout that, and 
no mistake! " 

Laughing at the success of his story, the teamster made off ; 
a few irinutes later the Agnostic followed him. 
i68 



The Lone Furrow 



.^^ Th«e thought. we„ p.;„Wty „„fi^^ ,^^ ^^^ ^^ 

Miss H«rkett whisked in to m at the He<l» k., l^ .i. i 

h excS ^ ^'T^ "" **«'«»'»> K> «"«. " Te«her 

:hr:j^'r«t7h^j'."^r"'-'- --^ - - -^ - -t' 

Mi«H.rketth.d .topped to shdcehwd, with Te«, I 
^J^her «y.„, ,o„eth.„g. „d she appeared JoTj 

of thet "r::;;:s: ' "^ "-' ■^^^ '^^ '- *' - - 

M^.'Z"^"' '■"■ ^"- ^— ?" Teacher said as 
"Y^ will you a,me too? we'll talk about that hymn." 

d™ 7 k """^"^ *•'""•«'' *«= 'J™"- I could heTr he 
d^ne of the.r voke. in „y „«„, ^j p,^„,^ ,,^ J'^^' 

J^ed. a.k.ng whe« I h«l p„t the matches, she wanted a 
«tejl over the house." I went in. knowing that I was 



13 



169 



The Lone Furrow 



" Clote the door, pleue," Memtahib commuKled. 
" What do you wppow has happened now ? " the asked 
next 

" The Kirk's gone over to Rome," I answered. I knew 
that only Church matters agitated little Teacher to the edge 
of collapse. 

" Tlwy're saying that Jean is an atheist." 

" Indeed they are," Teacher confirmed. 

"WhoareM«y?" 

" The Sewing Circle Set," Memsahib answered. 

" But, my dear girl, that's what they meet for — to crucify 
somebody, isn't it? Thf last victim was that poor girl whom 
they drove out of town until she really did go wrong. You 
know who I mean — Miss— Miss " 

" This IS worse," the Memsahib interrupted me. 

" Of course, it's worse to us — it comes nearer home." 

" Miss Harkett was there and heard them, so there's no 
mutake about it," Memsahib declared. 

" It was just dreadful 1 " wailed little Teacher. " Mrs. 
MacFarlane declared Jean was like Peter, that she denied the 
Lord — and to Minister Grey's own face." 

" So much the worse for Grey — it's his fault," I com- 
mented. 

"And Mrs. McRae said that she was learning pagan 
signs and things from the Agnostic. And Mrs. MacMillan 
said that Malcolm Bain was always abcut her, and that she 
was putting him up to making trouble in ihe Church." 

" You mean Widow MacMillan," I said—" she set her 
cap for Bain, and worried the poor man's life so that I was 
afraid he'd have to marry her or leave the country. It's just 
jealousy with her." 

170 



The Lone Furrow 



" Gr«ndm« Murdock icttled than," cried the Meimahib 
gleefully. 

"Indeed ihe did — the dear old body I" confirmed 
Teacher. 

" Good for Grandma I How did she shut them up— die 
must have called out the hose reel." 

"When Mrs. MacFarlane said that Jean denied the 
Lord, Grandma turned on her— My! she is such a gentle old 
body I could hardly believe my ears when I heard it— she told 
Mrs. MacFarlane she ought to be ashamed to say such a 
thing— that Jean wu a good woman, a better Chrbtian than 
many of those that prayed long and loud in public." 

" How do you know that? " snapped Widow MacMillan. 

Yes, how do you know Jean Munro's a God-fearing 

woman,' asked Mrs. MacRae; ' she's that proud she'll speak 

to nobody, cutting her betters. Does she confide in you, Mrs. 

Murdock?' 

She does with her troubles what you ougjit to do, she 
takes them to the Lord and not to the town pump; and not 
when people are looking to say how holy she is, either.' " 

" Good for Grandmar-splendid I " I exclaimed enthusias- 
tically. 

" You should have seen the vindictive look on Mrs. Mac- 
Rae's face, for it was a home thrust," said Teacher. 

And how do you know that Mrs. Mimro takes her 
trouble to the Lord in prayer if there's no one to see her do it, 
Mrs. Murdock?' sneered Mrs. MacMillan; and the others 
laughed spitefully, thinking they had her trapped. 

" ' I'll tell you how I know,' went on Grandma ; ' it is a 
•acred private thing, but thank goodness you can't make scan- 
dal of it if I do tell you. Mrs. Munro's bedroom at the Hedge 
171 



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The Lone Furrow 



faces my kitchen, and often when I'm busy there at night I can 
see her against the blind. And if you'll just clean your minds 
while I teU it, 'cause it's a sacred thing, I've seen her shadow 
as she knelt beside her bed in prayer. Not a dip down and up 
again, but as long as some of you bow your heads in church. 
Now, tell me, would an atheist do that— or one that denied 
the Lord?'" 

" Good for Grandma I " I reiterated, my heart just warm 
for the faithful old body. 

" They hadn't a word to say," added Teacher. " But 
Widow MacMillan— she's spiteful— wouldn't let up about 
the other matter. She said: 'It's common talk that Neil 
Munro was jealous of Malcolm Bain— and I don't wonder 
at it.' " 

"I'll bet Grandma scored them over that, too, didn't 
slie ? " I was eager to know. 

" Mrs. Murdock turned on the Widow like a flash and 
said: 'You ought to be ashamed! You had a good man 
yourself, and you're a mother, and I'll tell you something else 
to still your nasty tongues ' " 

Miss Harkett stopped abruptly, and looked hopelessly at 
Memsahib. 

" What did she say—" I began, with great stupidity; but 
the Memsahib frowned at me, and I stepped over to turn 
down the lamp a little— it was smoking. "By Jove!" I 
sa'd, " it's a wonder the chimney didn't breaL" 

This diversion gave little Teacher a chance; she was quite 
flustered. I turned from the lamp, that was really all right, 
and walked out on the lawn. 



17a 





CHAPTER XII 

HAD seen nothing of Robert Craig for three 
days; ,n fact. I had thought little of this, for 

r„„rK".*r "^'°"* ''"""2 *e past 
month he had suddenly disappeared from 

.-JTi!^- "^"^ *'" "'"^^"^ «" *« "oniing following the 

«.d I could see fron, his affected casuality of n,«.ner th« 
there was something in the wind. "ner tnat 

«nJjZ^ r u*' ^""^^ •"'' '•"= Memsahib had the ver- 

r^clai^dTt r ""'' *' ?""'' °^ »" ""^^^ "'««'» -'Wn 
proclaimed that it was sweeping day. 

"I came to tell you that you've been appointed a dele«fe 
jomtly with me to represent the society aT^orl^" Ba-^SS 

forJn^X ^M T "^^ """^ *" J**"'* «" than 
I^LT^ J .^ °"'^'' *° "° **="' *«'«ty I was naturally 
fuddled over Barn's enigmatical message. Luckily I cauS 



The Lone Furrow 



eye, md there a ponderous wink promptly initiated me into 
whichever order he had pitched upon as an excuse for carry- 
mg me oflE to York. 

"That's really too bad," I objected, falling in with his 
humor; "I'm busy," 

, „" ^^' '!'" "" *^' 5^" ■'^"y ^"^ '<««'" he replied cheer- 
fully; "we'll be back to-morrow." 

" When do we start? " I asked. 
"At noon." 

"t^*^^' ^ *"'•''**' ^ ""** 8P," I said resignedly; " I'll tell 
theMemsahib. Won't ycu come into my study, Bain ? I'd 
like to get a line on what I'm to do at the meeting." 

" Now what is it ? " I asked when we were beyond Jean's 
hearing. 

Bain handed me a telegram. It had been sent from Buf- 
falo by Robert, and read : 
"Come at once; found." 
"Minister?" I said inquiringly. 

1. "x^*V *" ^'**" •>■» '^n soaking in the accursed drink 
tfll he s fair daft. Will you go. Doctor ? " 

We were in Buffalo that same night at nine o'clock, and 

buk in lona the next afternoon. Just one more frowsed 

thread pulled from the tangled woof of Mystery. Nothing 

definite— nothing but a battered water-logged body, all that 

remained of some man in whose pocket had oeen found a pulpy 

card with the name " Munro " upon it There was a flushed, 

heavy-eyed boy, Robert, who insisted that the dead man was 

Neil. But the trail down which the now dead had gUded, 

traced back by the sleuths, led not to the shadow of any kirk, 

but to the Devil's playground, and I wondered that Robert 

did not hold this as proof that the dead man could not be NeiL 



for «. to even ^enToJ it- we'tt Ttf".''-"^ ""«'^'« 
tfl there « «, doubt ^Ardrth """ ^'^ '" '^'' ""- 

•««« th.-. f«,..h fi„To? Ji'*^,7r -- 'o secrecy 
much d,«;p.t.on, and f.nd«Xr„ rr ^"" ""*' '^''^ « 
tion the card on hat boTn itj^ ""' ^'^ ■»"' »» «»«"- 
we had been with NSini^t?'^' """''' ^"'' '» 'hat 
buried him. Think iiti "r«!^th.t we had 

were to come back alfve^fter S .?'"^'i '^'^^^ ^ " '"* 
^^^^„ "i.ve after that-.t would be hke Eugene 

A troubled look in Bain's face startle! ^ ■ 
nition of what import might be^/ * '""* * «»«• 

" There are so many SL^h. -' "^"^ 

^ "d have «me b^k^J^J^". '^'" ^' ^" "Ported 
•«ch a terrible blow to^L alf S^ "" •" ""«' '» ^^^'^ ^ 
^^„ to jean, all the more .ous if it were un- 

ovc/rntL'S,rp^l7 "■"'' ""-^ -r«d over and 

now it broke fortfSd^Xy Irri-'e;"' "" 
nde in Malcolm— in<J«j — .. f , determined to con- 

fo«. for wiS^t wtteTlt ' *'f " "''"' '"'- -> be- 
be « inviolate „ wT^^, IT °f ' T''' ^ '' *"«''' 
•tancw of Robert'. ««,r- f "'*'*'' "'^ ** «"rcum- 
■t really ^^Z^^mT^Z^'^ P« into word. 

-...-^ ''^byhJdlJt;ilX„f---"'P'-« 



The Lone Furrow 



the wind blows. To tell you the truth," he continued, " this 
hunt for Minister has been carried on in the wrong way 
from the start; there was never any system pursued— too 
many cooks spoiling the broth; and at first no cooks at all 
just, for Mrs. Munro, naturally enough, not thinking that 
her husband was gone for good, said nothing for a day. Then 
came the reports that he'd been seen going away on the 
tram. These were believed till they were found out to be 
litlse. I think myself that he did go away, but there's no 
proof. And the absence, of proof in this direction is con- 
fusmg. How could a man, well known, like Munro, get 
away without somebody seeing him ? It seems impossible. We 
did search the country hereabouts, but we were late starting, 
and ^t that it was more a matter of form, for we all thought 
that he was away and would turn up at some place, or come 
bacL 

" Is there another key to the manse? " I askeJ Ban. " It 
might disquiet Jean if we went to her for the key." 
"Yes, MacKay has one in charge; I'll get it." 
When we returned home I ran the gantlet of a severe 
tnal. Before I had a chance to tell the Memsahib the real 
busmea we were away upon, she, abetted by Jean, put me 
through a jocose catechism about the meeting of the secret 
society I was supposed to have attended. This Ulustrated 
absolutely the constant overlapping of the tragic and the 
comic m our lives; the heavy heart behind the mask of smiling 
lips, the laugh that smothered a sigh. 

Bain and I went together to MacKay, and in answer to 
Malcolm s request, Donald said: " Yes, I've got a key o' the 
manse." 

After a search in his desk he added petulantly : " I wonder 
176 



The Lone Furrow 



Ma,, alive I " he exclaimed as we waited patiently " If. 

perturbation over the missing article 

.^^^" Who h«i the key from you? » Malcolm repeated stol- 

" Who had it?-that's what I'm ashW mysel' Wh„ 
was It now? Was it Minister Grey>_No ^H „ * » • 
yourself frae me, Malcolm?" D-d you get .t 

'* Indeed I didn't! I'd have returned it if I had " 

I n.i.h/rT'^" "^T^^' "««• y«>»'« vera particular, Bain 
Inught ha e known that. It would be just such a riu^' 

likl Jr .? """^»'> *e residence of God's minister 



The Lone Furrow 



" Wm it Robert got the key? " Malcolm queried inipi- 
tiently. 

" Aye, the very man I you've said it, Malcolm I " 

Bain and I glanced at each other. I suppose there was 
a startled look in my eyes, there certainly was an enigmatical 
expression in his. 

" Why didn't you say so before, man ? " he asked MacKay. 

" Aye, just that; it fair slipped my mind, bothered by the 
loss o' the key. I remember vera well when he broudit it 
back " 

" He did bring it back then ? " Malcohn asked. 

" Aye ; at least I'm thinkin' he did. I remember putting 
It down here where I stamp the letters— I was just closing 
the mail for Kintyre, and was in a hurry— and where is it 
now? that's what I'd like to ken." 

" It might have got shoved in there under the pads, be- 
hmd the shelf," Malcolm advised; "look there, MacKay." 

The pads were brushed to one side, some of them clatter- 
ing to the floor; letters and papers were swirled into a whirl- 
wmd, and then, with a yell of triumph, MacKay dragged 
forth the big brass key, adding complacently: "I knew it 
couldna be lost; I'm vera particular about Church property; 
everyone should be. Here it is, Malcolm. Be sure and 
brmg it back. And yon careless de'il'll no get it again 
I promise you that. All this worry just because when you 
lend a man a thing he thinb you ha'e no further use 
for It." 

"I wonder what Robert was needing the key for?" I 
said, as we walked to the manse. 

" Most likely it was to get something for his sister," Bain 
answered. 

178 



The L one Furrow 

I r'^^"' <T/c!'lT" '•'' *''^" '"■" »>" »-" k«y." 
1 reuonea. x don t like it at all tpi.. l • . . 

hiding «„«th,ng in hi, n,.ni!" '^'' " ""-""'' 

'•He hid something in hi, pocket, you say. Doctor." 

h.ve S.: Mix*? '■"-""" "" ^°" •"•"-' *" -•«« 
lette7,^e\trH-^I^'' '"" '"'" ^' compromising 

hutll". '^'^ IT*'"" P'*""'''"'V in Malcolm', suggestion 
but Mmehow .t had not the slightest validity with me I hJi 

t« t "'• "^ ^""~'* '''■«P'-««n«. I knew awS' 
Uwas hke an m,p.,ation. that soon or late I should find S 

.•,h ll^! ^T "l ""? *° *'" ""''y- I '«<> *« vvay with fever- 
.sh haste dreadmg I knew not what. There would be »me 
new evidence there, some change. Robert would no! Ze 
gone there out of idle curiosity. 

self wTh'^'l.*' "*"" l*f,« detective. Bain contenting him- 
^^^L'^^' "'""^' ^'" ^- -"■■*■ °--' I've not 

tin T "r"^' t''' ' ^°^'"« J«*« »•>« had hung on 
the door of a httle closer was not there. On an open sheH 
and attached to the wall, there was a collect.^ o^Ind"' 
cunos which Munro had brought from th« Ln ' "J 
bras, prayer wheel from Thibet, with its enclosed lon7scro5 
of prayers printed in red ink. still lay upon the o«i shdf 

b«n taken. I remembered well that at the time of my fJrmer 
179 



The Lone Furrow 



liS K ^ "" • • "•"'^ ""'* "'• ^ Afghan knife, with 
a jad« handle, wu certainly mining from where it had retted 
on two n.,1, dnven into the wdl ju.t Jx,ve the pntyer wheel. 
I had examined ,t, long tapering point, sharp a. a lance, and 
h«d taid lomething of its viciou. look to Robert the day we 
had been there together. 
^^" What are you looking for, Doctor? " Bain asked ptes- 

'■ rm trying to think what was on this shelf-it's gone." 

What, the difference?" he commented; "perhaps a 

trmket of just no value that Robert took a notion to. There's 

ztJ'2:':'z^ '"'" '^'" "' -"''' '•" *• "- 

• ^.P^^"**f°|>Je«"P- It was a small mouthpiece, fash- 
ioned from a bird's wing-bone evidently. 

"It's like the reed of a bagpipe." Malcolm said, "but 
most like its the stem of a tobacco pipe." 

" I think it is." I answered. " and I'm sure there was a 
small Indian pipe here on the shelf." 

" Well. I think we're wasting time," Malcolm said. " I 
suppose Robert took those things. Neil may have given them 
to him. 

" There's been a fire in the grate since I was here " I 
commented, poking in the ashes. 

" Perhaps there were more letters that Robert wished to 
destroy. 

"But why did he bum the gloves and the coat? " I re- 
torted, showing a leather thumb and some buttons. I darted 
to the desk with something else in my hand. "And even 
1 80 



The Lone Furrow 



MW.p.„Mhqr'regone. h'^rc .re nib. I fi,hed ou. of .he 

" Why tbould the boy burn thoie " Vf.l™i». • j 

"It'» mighty .tr«ige." """«*•• M«icolm queried. 

"It hu wmething to do with that peculiar odor I 

told you about, Malcolm." * 

" If» strange," Bain said solemnly. " That black 4«^A 

„* <i'^Y*r!^'^'' *' ^^^^ "^ Cholera, the evil consort 
IrJ M Tr •" ^ ""''""^' " And this myste^r 
1 don t like these pagan things; they- t, <,)„ ^. .. 
Malcolm declared with a grimace*;; dfs^st. " ll^\ 
v^Jese queer implement, of darkncs.lt stir rei T^. 
^tion of Maggie. Jean's servant, for rfie spread «,! 
«™.geyam. about Munro-it wouldn't take much dot^o 

^ "/r'T' °* '^^ •■" - •"«. though; half an 2 
shell.^ there's a mare's net with three dozen egg, in" ^ 
__ What was Maggie's ,tory-I never heard of that?" 
1 just came by snatches of it, a word here and a word 

llT*^K"'rf '" ^"^ ''^»«" "" ^' « whole dr« 
longer, and the girl thought he was making magic" 

•tudent."""'**' """ *'" ""'•^'"*'" ^ *"■••• "^' ^" « 8«*« 

.t^l'i'w ^J^? "^^ ^ •"■* ^'"«' ««1 Paying for 
.^gth to bend the necks of the Philistines to the ycVe. It 

^L M-t" '1'?' ^""^'^ ""^ *« <'"»"«1 *e nigh 
before Mmister walked out into the great silence." 

,. tT"* **"* *^'^ '''"*"*• *•*"*' Malcolm? " 
I don t know-robody know^ I suppose Robert must 
I8l 



The Lone Furrow 



h.ve come to Ned drunken; perhap. Minister upbr«ded him 
forit It w« Maggie who told of the row. At wy r.te 

if»l7'?.i:i"^"'' '■'•^"^ "■* ''•y Minister diupi,^' 
«d he h.d been free from the accursed thing for .^K 

" I am lure that Robert wa* the cause of Neil's coine " I 

B«in. Well just keep silence over this suspicion. If it were 
wh.spe,«l through the village I believe it would kill J^S^ 
her present condition." "^ 

"Ye. her mind is sore troubled ; she's swimming in a sea 
of «aam,ty. Just a fjdse repo. that her brother w-s^ 
pected of «,yth ng might put her out of her mind." 
Xt isn t the mind alone, Malcolm." 

Nothing but love could have flashed the look of tender 
concern from the Scot's strong eyes. 

"Jean expects to become a mother," I answered, 

death uniBSr"rT"K'*?'"*^ ^"''«' •"«'"'f «*"««•« «>* 

a Z^e^ ,r '• '.;•'"• ""^ ^"''' ~"" "« »«^« ^«'"Kht 

H-inu '"**'" ^'"' t'«"'"<«o« emotion-hi, face 
darkened t.ll h., eye, became lurid in wrath. For 1 Ml 
mmute I watched him in the play of this fierce emotion 
Ihe hound! the miserable cowardly hound 1 " 
I understood. Malcolm's passion became beatified. I 

th^k^rrrT''"''^ ■'• ^* «'" ""-" ■««'«fi^ bj 

tt'Zltbet " "■•" -"" ''- '^^ J- « ^"^ 

" Yes. Malcolm," I said, speaking at last, " you're justified 

.n your execration, if the husband, rational, saJe, we^JTway 

i8a 



The Lone Furrow 



■nd I'd like to My what', in m„ I . x ' *^"' ""■"• 

. «.^' • w " "^y '••«'■' ^or list once • it wvm. 

not . m«.'. love. I couldn't worj myVought, „t 'p" 
ence. I was just a blundering „,„, Lgh of s,iech uT 
ortunateiy I spoke of it once that way. aLt tS «ire i" 
her I never could put it right, even with myself f-^ZX 
ward at all times, but with Jean I was likeTman dr^r 
She was always proud-her father and her mother be- 

«nd not pity. I know it was just because I was her father's 

fxjeml almost his only friend at the finish, that Jean though 

I had taken upon myself to look after her future. Now I ca„ 

183 



The Lone Furrow 



be just what she thought I wa»-her father's friend— and 
I m satisfied. My I my 1 httle Jean a mother— won't that be 
beautiful! It will be a blessing straight from God." 

Bain had gradually passed from fierce passion to earnest- 
ness, and now to a sweet tenderness of thought like a 
woman's. I gazed with rapture upon the great human giant 
with his fine sensibility. A knight he was in his chivalry. 

"A curious place we happened upon for this talk," Bain 
said simply, and, as I thougjit, as apology to the absent hus- 
band. 

" It might have all beeh said with Munro present," I an- 
swered. 

" Aye, perhaps ! But you've finished your look-about. Doc- 
tor? " 

A thought struck me and I slid open the drawer that 
Robert had forced the lock of, saying: " I fim gw that odor 
I spoke of here— the drawer reeked of it. That's curious," 
I continued, " some one has stripped this." 

I pulled the drawer away from the desk and held it to my 
nostrils; there was still a faint nauseating odor dinging to 
its wood. I passed it to Malcolm, saying: " Do you detect 
anything? " 

"Yes; there is a strange drug smell about it— a heathen 
taint like the smell of yon infidel prayer wheel." 

"What do you think it is, Malcolm— have you any 
idea?" 

" I've never got a whiff of the Devil's breath, but I think 
It would be a bit like this. Still I think you're putting too 
much store by it, Doctor, as a cause for consideration. What 
could it have to do with Neil's disappearance?" 

I could see his eye searching my thougjits, as if he would 
184 



The L one Furrow 

fathom something that I hesitated to exoress T .« Z~r~ 
my fomer argument that it n.Ll^',T:J„TZ^ '° 
the m^te^ ^^ r^,„_ whok'n^ ^eZg w2:; 

>n„"Ml'' /''* »"/'""'^* dev^ this, and will lead to noth- 
rnz, Malcolm declared. " Hadn't we better be going?" 

cciiar and all. It will rest my mind." 
^ We went down to the kitchen. Malcolm searching for . 

m hU^ird"'* <^?'/T' ""r^'" ^' ^■'^' *'* ^he light 

?„i7' ^ ' ' '^^'^ " *«' '»°«°"' of the cellar stairs, 
holdmg the cand e above his head, and scanning my See. "1 
declare you're white about the giUs" « X "ce. i 

fnto^t^'^r'*,,'^'* * "''^°"* '«"8'>' """l he led the way 
nto the coal cellar, and then into another storage room c3 
taimng nothing but barrels ».d tubs. 

Suddenly I heard an exclamation of surprise from Bain 

Sttle bet""".- •"" *^ ''^^ "' » •='-*• »^ was hlfng a" 
botde between h,, eyes and the candle light. He put the b^t^ 

Wf .""' f'l "" •""*''• ™s he repl^it the 
.helf, „d stood rubbing his chin contemplatively. 

« ».. T!",* *'^"«*«'? " I «k«l- " Were you for a swie 
at the bottle and found it empty? " ^ 

the« !i! M 1?' "f* '"°"^' ""*• «» '■* ^' °th" one. But 

"Fuji i ; T.'l' '^ •"«' »"«' *"« »« "O"'-" 

i-uJl of what, Malcolm?" 

r;«.'l^"""""'r ""'"" ^''^ *' sacrament." My silence ear- 
ned h.m on w.th m explanation. " The thrifty elders of ?he 
*' 185 



The Lone Furrow 



Kirk get it in bulk once a year, and it has always been stored 
here in the manse cellar. It was a good idea because I've 
known of an occasion where, through forgetfulncss, there was 
no wine forthcoming for communion service. Man! it's 
lucky I discovered this shortage, for next Sabbath is com- 
munion, and we'd be depending on this for supply." 
" What's become of it? " I queried. 
" Aye, that's what's troubling me." 
" Could somebody have broken in and stolen it? " I asked. 
Malcolm pointed to the two empty bottles. " Besides," he 
said, " the house has not bden broached." 

" Somebody in the house drank it, you think? It couldn't 
have been Munro himself, he was bitter against drink. He 
even raised his voice in protest against having wine on the 
communion table," I protested. 
" No, it wasn't Minister." 

" Could it have been Robert? " I said hesitatingly. Then 
Mrried on by this train of thoughts, my mind groping for 
hnb in the broken chain, I added: " Robert was intoxicated 
the night he quarreled with Neil. Can it be possible that 
Munro caught him drinking this wine? " 

" It's a dreadful thought," Malcolm answered heavfly. 
" But the boy's liquor had been shut ofi at the tavern, 
and I know from what I've seen of ihese weaklings that a 
man with a craving for strong drink will steal it when he'll 
steal nothing else. Without being a thief— if you can call it 
that— he'U steal liquor for the devil that is in his blood. 
Heavens, it's horrible! Isn't this guardianship of our 
brother's a terrible thing? Is it any wonder that the Devil 
seems to get the upper hand of the Lord when humans are 
the chessmen in the great game? Let's away into the open— 
i86 



The Lone Furrow 



lungs full of the wind fron, the fields. God. man! iThfTc 
*hat we were better when we dwelt in cav« knT . 
ones like animals." "'^^ ""* ^"^"^ « 

'JY* t^'Jf d silently up the cellar stairs and out into the 
sunsh.„e. and then Malcolm said: " Come for a will D^ 

-the stubble of the reaped fields, and the draoenr nf th 
clouds in thesky will wipe of! the smudge." "^^ ^ *" 

^^!*L"r^r^—; Tit 

"vl^""', 5"* *'"."''""'* ''* «'°"°"' t^-day." he said 
Yon tangled mass in the west is like th- Rn^i,, ii/f • 

Range, hug^left valleys and snowtp^ p«b ^i^l" t 
majesty of man's construction is like a i^rkLtt-J^ 
pared with that magnificence." '^^■"^'^^'^hox com- 

" It's a very black heavy cloud," I answered; " It hover, 
over the burnt-gold carpet of these fields like the myst^X" 
nangs over our spirits." ^ 

"There you go again, Doctor. Bom an optimist-I'll 

S^Ser „"' '"'^ "''" ^°" -"^ young-!r peJ 
7dl^^ If rr, '" "^'*'^' '^'■""■''^■•^ to the edge 
*at"r-of l^d."'^'' "^ '^^ *" ^-■- ^'••- ^"-n^ S 

I oW«^? "* "° *"''' ''"'"^ *° *' '"- --«"■* cloud." 

houra^"""""' "' ""•'* •'■■•^ ^°" *"" - ^•-•''y-not an 
Rebuked, I plodded on a little in silence. 
Its no use. Malcolm." I cried bitterly. " I can't shake 
187 



The Lone Furrow 



off a horribly repugnant feeling that Neil never left the vil- 
lage— alive," I added. 

. , ",!^'"' !"« ~"ldn't leave it in the daylight any other way 
but alive, without somebody knowing it." 

'• His body could have been carried out in the dark." 
: ^^ Aye, it could, but it wasn't." 

" How do you know that, Malcolm? " 
" I can prove it to yt j, and perhaps that will add to your 
peace of mind, though it never had much influence with me 
for I always felt convinced that he just walked quietly away' 
taking the country road for i't, perhaps to some small raUway 
station, with the animal cunning of some half-daft creature " 
^^ But the proof, Malcolm," I cried impatiently. 
I'll give it to you. There was a letter found in the post 
box at the opening hour, eight o'clock, by MacKay; it was ad- 
dressed, in Munro's peculiar well-known hand, to the pro- 
prietor of the 'Plowshare,' and was an order revoking the 
ban that Minister had put upon the selling of liquor to Rob- 
ert Craig. For my own information I had a talk with Postie 
MacKay about this letter. He's a sharp-eyed man. is Don- 
aid, and the fact of Minister writing to the tavern keeper 
caught his inquisitive fancy. Well, MacKay, when I quizzed 
him, remembered that Neil's letter lay on top of aU the others 
-two of my own, in fact, that I'd slipped into the opening 
about SIX odock. I was abroad early, taking a look at the 
sunrise. And there were others, workers, that post iccters 
««rly in the morning; so you see Doctor, Minister must have 
shpped that in the box sometim. about seven o'clock, perhaps 

''Did you have suspicions, too, Malcolm?" 
" I was just looking for a clew. I just locked all fandes 
i88 



Th e Lone Furrow 

P*«It^' '^hJ"* "i!** ^'^ ""' "«'* ^«'*' '■" the box." I 
Pe««ted. he may have forced Munro to give it to him " 

A vexy weak argument. Cameron." Malcolm ret« ed- 

Munro was not a man to be forced by anybody-he jus dM 

hs thmg voluntarily. And Robert wi irtoxiclted I'm 

tmt the letter to h.m; and. even if he had, the boy made 

U to Ae tavern keeper, flourishing it as a sign of victon. 
Hed have been a great man in his own estimation." ^' 

Robcr? '^^^'^'^'^ ^™™ »ve such a letter just when 

h^f brirs •■ """ "^''"^ °" ''•' "-^ '^' --' -•>« H^ 

noTh^n "l • 1 I ^"^'^ °^ '*'«'■* *•'« ^« « *« boy had 
not been am low. that it now made him a thief, causedl^i^ 
«t« to g,ve up m despair. The ban was so unless an,^^ 
The law seems powerless to put down the drin^ S^Z* 
know how thq. evade that restriction of the black list? " 
^,^ I thought It was impossibl^there's a heavy fine." I 

Bain looked at me pityingly. « You're a man of books. 
Doctor, havmg great faith in the majesty of thTlaw f? 
^you. A man on the black lis, witi. hTs liquor oLd J 

JSl 71: r J^^i "T ''" ^°*''* °"« Cain. Cain asks 
Abel to take a drmk. calling for whisky himself. The bar- 
tender pa«es Abel-who is under the ban-a cigar "Aat 
doses the deal so far as the hotel is concerned ; it £ obs^ed 
189 



The Lone Furrow 



the letter of the law. Then Cain slits Abel', throat-he 
makes a trade with him, trades his glass of whisky to Abel 
for the agar. Man alive I but it's a glorious thing, this hu- 
man intellect; it's clever. I suppose that when Robert had 
the quarrel with Munro that night he cast this up to him- 
sneered at his puny eflEorts for reformation. Perhaps it was 
the last straw that broke the camel's back of NeU's fruitless 
endeavor. What the workings of his mind were, I can't say: 
melancholia takes strange forms. He wouldn't be the first- 
nor the thousandth who has .wandered ofi pursuing strange 
g«.toms, forgetting name, the ties of home, perhaps even 

Bain's voice lowered huskily as he mentioned the last stage 
of forgetfulness. 

n* } ^**y™**' to the Hedge, my mind brighter because of 
Malcolm s logical reasoning. Perhaps, after all, it was some- 
thmg m connection with this drinking business that Robert 
wished to conceal It must be ; the other was too horrible. 

And then, at this summing up, the Devil pinched my 
elbow and whispered, " why has that sharp-pointed knife dis- 
appeaml-why were the coat, and :he cap, and the gloves 
burned ? 

. u"l?xT **y God!" I cried in misery, "everything is 
why. Nothing but to wait; and to wait better perhaps 
than to know. If everything would but remain steeped in un- 
solvable mysteiy, time would draw the thick veU of eternal 
silence about it, and leave Jean bravely stepping the lone fur- 



row, till her babe came— -a new life 



rising out of the dead. 



190 





CHAPTER XIII 

lOR a week we drifted on almost placid 

I waters; deep ,„d murky-unruffled by sLms 

or dangerous currents, the heavy monotony 

from the child^^ """"'"^ '"""«'"« «'"'-' "'irely 

There were distressing reports about Robert Crai^- »„J 
of^ at mulnight I couid hear his unsteady tlj pS^The 
Hedge, as he made his way to thi- nU r, • T '^ , "^^ ""* 
still lived. *'^ •'""^ ^'''"e he 

W h"t t'"~" ^ '"'^ ^'*'" ««""K °" th« «dewalk and 

alTut th^™ • ' fPP**'""" I judged that he was 

about three parts gone m the drcuit of his daily orbit- his 

aition. Generally about ten o'clock he was in n.,:i..i- 
neat and vivacious; from that on there wo^ be aTuleT' 
tenorafon in apparel and gentility of inteZt kTaa 

rtt^'i^Jh.-^ '--^ i o/hfttor'^^t; 

laterSl^u™* f'* ''r'* '^' ^''- °f •'"•ghtness until. 

at th,, stage h.s vocabulaay would become disjointed Now I 

191 



The Lone Furrow 



observed his mott absolute sign of spirit excitement—, hand 
twitching nervously at one side of his thin blond mustache. 

I didn't want him coming in where Jean might see him in 
that stote, so I passed hurriedly through the gate, ostensibly 
on my way to the stores. 

" Hello, Doc," Robert rrfed when we met, " skipping the 
muse? How's the quill— mightier'n the sword to-day? " 

"Jean is not very well— she's lying down with a bad 
headache, and I was just going up to the druggist." I said 
this to forestall what I antynpated was a visit to Jean; but 
he answered, " I wasn't coming to see Sister— I wanted to 
speak to you; strictly confidential, you know." 

Robert pulled at his thin mustache and eyed me. 

"You haven't heard anything, have you, Robert?" I 
asked, startled. 

" P«'s just what I have; that's what I want to see you 
bout." ' 

Jean was really in her room lying down, and lest passers 
mis^t hear what he had to say, I led the way back to my 
lawn. 

" Ahl that'sh what I liko- This'sh better," the boy said 
as he took a chair; " I hate standing up to talk bus'ness— no 
good." 

I scrutinized him closer now. Judging from his careless 
speech he was more drunk than I had thought 

"What is it. Robert?" I asked; "not bad news, I 
hope. 

"Yes; bad news" — the boy vidously hesitated long 
enough for me to show my anxiety, then he added, " Munro's 
alive, right enough." 

" And you call that bad news, you confounded rascal." 
192 



The Lone Furrow 



Ulkiirib^'?' ""'• '^"-^°" "'•"•* ■"•- -•». you're 

I ignored thi,. " How do you know? » I «keH " «.u . 

have you heard-who told you-whri Ne."'' l' "S 

the questions one after another. '^ ^ 

;; Aman 'at wed to know Neil «iw him in Montreal." 

Where is the man— here ? " "•■«re«. 

-I'Jll^''*-" ^°'^-«"'» *«'» wJ»t I want to talk about 
— i am going in to see him." 

now underTTf " ''i^^.'"^'^* -J' --d that Robert, 
now under the mfluence of his master, had fabricated tU. 
toryto obtain money for a drinking teunn YorT T^ 

ZT^' ^r^ "'■"'■ ""«• Malcolm :;owL\rLt" 

tos"n7wryLl-nZ= «— ^«.-nnosS^ 

flatlv' Z"^' '^''t '"'".*' '"""'^ "^"'■e'''' Robert." I said 
miw."' ' """ '""''"^ *•" much - wait tiU t.. 

Jud^'bu*^*? "" indipiantly. declaring he was as sober as a 
judge, but I was saved a scene by Malcolm's opportune ar- 



The Lone Furrow 



rival. He nodded to Cr«ig, Hying: " Good day to you, Rob- 
ert. It'$ warm— we'll have rain." 

To me, knowing the subtle manifetUtioni of Bain'i 
moods, this greeting of friendship, tinged by reserve, the al- 
lusion to the neutral subject of the weather indicated plainly 
that Malcolm's shrewd eye had noted the boy's condition. 
Indeed Malcolm alv/ays preserved an attitude of reserved po- 
liteness toward Craig, and, in consequence, the latter stood 
considerably in awe of him, I • was really a trying renunda- 
! tion upon Bain's part, adopted as a painless form of mastery; 
for, because of his chivalric love for Jean, Malcolm enter- 
tained toward the boy the same tender regard he might have 
had for a younger brother. 

" I came in for my umbrella, Cameron," Bain explained, 
turning to me—" I left it yesterday; we'll catch it heavy to- 
night. I thought the mountain might split yon black cloud, 
but the wind is from the east, and the east wind always has 
its own way. I've got to come out to a meeting in the church 
this evening— it won't be bad if some of the determined ones 
get a soaking for their huriy, I'm thinking." 
'•What's up?" I asked. 

" It's all up. They've convened a meeting to have the 
Presbytery declare the pulpit vacant, and then extend a call 
to Minister Grey." 

" They seem to take it for granted Munro is dead," I ex- 
claimed bitterly. 
"Aye, they do." 

Robert had been sitting in sullen anger, Malcolm's ar- 
rival having curbed further expressions of wrath at my 
declaration. Now his anger shifted from me to the church 
people, his temper got the upper hand ; he rose to his feet in a 
194 



The Lone Furrow 



»te. " t«.n them for a lot of fools I " he cried. " I'll rive 

^uZr'r^L^^ ": "1°"* *« hypocrite-;,/^! 

fll«™!r • u "^ •'"'^^ ">* "^"'^ ""■•"■«« into three 

frvnenu with . ,„eeri„g drawl of contempt 

mini .T!li",^"°'• ^* '^^ ''■''' »'•« «'^' P'«y of an in.me 
mmd; but Malcohn ju,t drew a deep breath, and S^^ 

T^;, '. ,5?" k"°^ «"yth'ng. tell it like a man." ' 
PhariS " jW "• '"'• '"'" """• ^'^"' »""• I'" «ive the 

«1 I^ ^/.? • * ^"." "^'"^ *>"•'' ^'^ whisky. «d 
antics Was he wy.ng anything about Minister? " 
Ve—that he was alive-had been seen." 
Thank Godl" 
It was an honest exclamation. 

be :^ u^TSs :^ ^"' -^^ -^ ^-"^-^ - 

reuLdTJ^te^tfeitthTrr ""'^ ^""" ^''•"•^ ^^ « ' 

„„^ ^^'" "1-"*^ r"''' "^'''' ^*''^'- «"d yo" »"ed wisely in 
n« g.v.ng hun the money. I'll see Robert myself to-mSw 

fn.n, hm... there may be something in it, and if I think T^ 
195 



The Lone Furrow 



». 1 11 ju« KO to York with him—thtt'. the only wiy. He'i 
••weak u water, poor boyl I'd go to-night if it weren't for 
tlu» meeting. I wu meaning to have a talk with you, while 
I wu here, about that tame money matters I wu putting 
It off till the lut minute, till like the forecloung of the 
mortgt'^. To-night Munro will practically ceue to be the 
mcuml t and hi* lalaiy will be itopped— it would have been 
•topped before now, if I hadn't made a strong stand. Aye 
my brother Scott don't leave their businnt instinctt at th^ 
door of the kirk like a Mussulman putt off hit shoes at the 
mosque. And I'm going tp confide in you, if you don't mind, 
^-wneron, a businen that 1 hoped to keep all to myself; but 
us not safe, it's not to the best interestt of-of— Mrs. 
Munro. 

"In the first place— going away back— u you know, 
MacKay and I were executors for Simon Craig. Robert 
was left the home; the income from the esttte, which wu 
chiefly some timber lands and a saw mill in Tecumsdi, wu to 
be divided between Jean and Robert. I think I managed 
fairly well, for there wu little to do but just pay out the in- 
come. But for the put year or two there's been little to 
divide, and,^ paradoxicsUy, that hu made it harder." 

" I see." I understood that Malcohn wu thinking solely 
of tlie loss to Robert and Jean. 

''I'm glad you do," he said dryly, "for what I stated 
hardly sounded like good sense. Mimster Mum. had his 
•alary, but he might u well have been without it; he didn't 
seem to comprehend that any of it wu needed for himself or 
the wife; in fact, he gave away all he had— more, too, for 
there are a few debtt. I thought that the timber property 
would pick up, so I just loaned the esute a trifle without 
196 



P«d them wh.t thr.hoL,d hir ^ "."" "«•• •» I i«t 

n-tter .„ ,he book/or Jv^h, T"^ ""^ "«*' »' «''i. 
fuddled M«:K.y. V„d he^?K ■ ^'"' " ''"'"'«' ««'y l-ve 
done J, if I h.d ;e;;ed th ' "" """•„ ' ^''"'«'"'t h.ve 
•"d enough," bJT^Za 7 '^ "J^If-but I dJdn't-I 

you'd?reU"r;tS;:r^ijir---"^ -.nued. ...h.. 

ter of that, only th« I'm „o^ i ""'" ""• '"' ** "«- 
needing your JrvSl i„ T "^ .'** *'" ^" «>««•"»• I'm 

no MOW iMt winter to ^H . i ."'*'" •^''"^ 'f""* wm 

'•"« for eitherX^fch^ !fT?";'" ^ ''"'« °r "oth- 
the timber ,„d, ^i^^stZJZL'^ * 'V'^' '^^ 
he much for the future." '''*°* "** '•««'" not 

" I understand." 
I think you do now— T'.. ^ • 
t'-re«me perhaps. JiZ^l ^1 7'"^ 'I ^ "''''■°'' ^^-^h 
for M«. Mun« and RofaeT h~ "" '7/" * •"' '"«'"'« 
•nd the Lord was JLT I ^ "^"^ '*^* '" "y charge, 

out troubling any£dy .W .W ^^""^ *'"' ""''' '"'"'■ 
•-ddh-ng if h'e th!Sn^"l^^ir„^r^ " "" ""'='' ^- 
«o«ething might happenTe " "^ ' " '^'' •"• ^'^'or. 

;;G«I forbid. MJcolml" I ej«:ul.ted. 
«veo;^^ng'JI^i^Go^'r:r/!•-«tm.y. TT,ere-. 
*' °°^ ^t hearing on that subject 
*97 



The Lone Furrow 



.llustratmg the uncertainty of life: 'Thou fool, this night 
thy soul shall be required of thee '-so, Doctor, I'm going to 
arrange for up to the time that shall be spoken in my case, 
«nd for after, .£ needed. And I'm going to ask you to jus 
see that It, carried out. Will you do that, man? I've 
thought hours over it-I can't do it alone, and I can trust 
you, Cameron; now, will you do it, man?" 

" God ! Bain, you're a noble character— I'll do everythine 
in my power. ' 

"There's no great praise coming to m-, Cameron; I can't 
eat the money I ve no one to give it to. that is, that's needing 

r^^S. T '^ *^° ^"' ^'^' '■" "y ^'''^ee; they are the 
only children I ever came by or ever will. And if anythine 
IS ever said that would hurt Jean, you could nail the lie. Doc- 
tor, tor you know how it is now. 

"Man I but I've talked a lot," Bain added, looking at his 
watch. 

" Not a bit of it," I objected. " Silence may be golden, 
but speech clears the air." 

'' It's die other way about sometimes," Bain argued. 
1 here II be the meeting to-night." 
" I'll go, Malcolm," I declared. 

"Thank you, Doctor. See the cleverness of that storm; 
It II come down the Ninth Concession Road through the dip 
m the mountain. It'll just save its energy for a full bane 
at the village. Good afternoon to you." 

It was solely Bain's unexpressed wish that gave me an in- 
tention to attend the church meeting. Functionally I might 
go as an interested member in proxy for the Memsahib, who 
was quite a church worker. This would b. sufficient to still 
the tongues of captious ones ready to impute idle curiosity, or 
198 



The Lone Furrow 



a prying lieutenantshin m T— _• • — 

-o .t equally thoShaJTr rr .'"/°'^' ''-- 
«^'th eager antidpaJon. It w^^j V''°"f ^ °* *e meeting 
lopcal study. The vPjJeJui " """"^ ^°' P'y<A<>- 
distant horizon. I had ^„ .h """'"' "'^" » somewhat 
-ape th«„gh half-closed ™,'" '""''" v-ws a l«,d- 
^ftness hard h„es of disriSon .f J"^ '"'' """'"2 »» 
-masses of light and shadf ' "^^'"^ *''' ^''°J* ■•«<> 

Trooping stanchly to church <3,l,k .l 
taken their sub„,issive adhem,^ tf th r T""""^ ^ ^ 
an admirable guarantee of „K Calvinistic creed as 

'"ling human^l:^ t"„r'r' '''' '"'^"'l- «°v 
W a theologL it oVv e^' ThV rT "" ^'°''- 
desecration of the holy dav hU\Z ^^^'** »""»P' « 
n«v-fa„gled innovations of the DeS^,'!'" ^°'"." ™"'^'^y.- 
th; bud. Perhaps the most se lufaTt """""i'°" "'""^^ '■" 
•vwe fourth commandment ST T^' '° "^ *« ^o'd's 
of a Sunday newspapeTf u, of torid"l .' '"'''''"'' '"*""'"«'<'" 
« Sunday paper. foPit was llr kVc'"^' ^^ '-'""'t really 
otyofYork. '^'^ """«*'''* Saturday night in the 

h« S;^ for*ex^«^''nTr? r' '° ''''' '"* »«>*er in 
voice of the Evil oTui ul„" ', '"?" ^ '° *''' ^^^Pt-V 
he had been allowed ; pu„Thi! '^.^ ""''''''• ^^ch, if 
or late, have brought aClt Iwt'T' ^°""j -"" 
a compact with the godless oronL r . ^' ***'«'' '"to 
«nd him by the SunSy moZ.T "^ ""* ^°^^ P""*" '» 
a bundle of these " D^flTZphSs" """'"' ^""^ ^°- 

H.hti;:r;r p^^sr • ^ 't ^^^--^ '^"^ "-^ - 
"---overtC'rH^s;:^^^:--:; 



The Lone Furrow 



destruction by stopping the sale of the paper, using the law as 
his weapon. 

Could we have lived thus seven days of the week I fancy 
it would have taken little strain to remain entirely holy, but 
the other six of sharp-edged strife in the matter of barter, 
threw the theological system sadly out of joint. Several deals 
of my own had confused my mind sadly as to the real moral 
status of the good people. 

There was the unreconcilable cord of firewood that had 
been delivered to me at least a quarter short in measurement; 
there was the load of potatoes for which I had paid a liberal 
price upon the assurance of the tubers being superlatively 
good, that in the pot turned a chrome-yellow and nauseating 
to the palate through having been frozen before delivery. In 
fact I had a suspicion that, trading upon my inexperience, the 
worthy farmer had sought me out as an easy victim. And 
rankling in my mind as a curious misvaluation of trust were 
the several barrels of i4>ples I had brought from another yeo- 
man as prime A i shipping fruit, charged for in accordance 
with this quality ; but " when the pie was opened they all be- 
gan to sing," a veritable song of derision, for the apples were 
" seconds," worth less than half the sum I had paid for them. 

My trust in humanity carried a chipped edge all around 
its rather wide margin through the nicks that had been left in 
it by men who considered me in a very bad way indeed, spirit- 
ually; it resembled a wall which abutted my lawn. It was 
the Agnostic's critical eye and tongue that discovered to me 
how thoroughly I had been done in this piece of masonry. 

" Making bricks without straw was nothing to the feat 
those masons accomplished," he said erne day, prodding at the 
wall with his cane. 

20O 



The Lone Furrow 



He laughed quizzically and continued not only his dis- 
course, but the disruption of the abutment. " Here's a 
cement wall without any cement." 

h.J' ^°"'" "H!*^"' ^"J"''" ^ «^«*=^'- " I P«d fo' four 
Dags of cement. 

for 1 *''^''' '!°"''V*"' '" *' ''***' »"•* «""« «h" "O" P«-d 

for them a^m when they were really put into his work. 
Th.s IS nothing but a square mound of sand and gravel 

thickness of blottmg paper; a pail of cement for the whole 

The Major was right. The disreputable wall was some- 
thing to stand there as an insistent rebuke to my faith in the 
honest toiler of the simple life. 

The only incident in this warfare of spiritual excellence 
against mundane depravity that I failed utterly in tabulat- 
mg correctly was an incident that actually had nothing to do 
with me whatever, yet. like a true villager, I bothered the 
more over it. 

Perhaps Hugh Chisholm had found Presbyterianism too 
frivolous and unexacting; at any rate he was a deaam in the 
Church of the Plymouth Brethren. Coincident with this he 
kept a store. 

And one day his fellow-Plymouthians stared aghast at an 
advertisement of Deacon Chisholm's in the lona paper which 

" Nobby hats and smart shoes for sale " 

th JJ''^'" " ''"'' '°° '""'•' ^°^ '^' P'>""°"»'' Brothers, and 
they took serious counsel with Deacon Hugh, asking him to 

" aoi 



The Lone Furrow 



eliminate that dangerous word " Nobby." It was almost as 
wicked as the posters of women in short skirts which an un- 
wise traveling show had attempted to display upon the vil- 
lage fences. 

The Deacon bowed his neck meekly to their reprimand, 
and next week his advertisement was changed to: 

" Hats for the upright and shoes for tender-feet." 

I noted this change with varied interest. I knew the Dea- 
con as a man most conscientiously interested in his own af- 
fairs and the afiairs of others, but up to this reading I had 
never felt that he was unnecessarily hilarious. His whole 
manner rather inclined one to not expect too much levity ; but 
that hyphen was either due to weak punctuation or an ex- 
tremely subtle humor, to say nothing of the reference to 
persons qualified to buy his hats. 

I took the liberty of a cheerful allusion to the pleasure I 
had derived from his advertisement, but he reproved my 
jocose comment solemnly, saying that the Brothers were quite 
right in calling his attention to the matter, that owing to a 
press of business he had not given the first advertisement suf- 
ficient thought, forgetting how prone to frivolity the young 
were. He had not realized how dangerous such an example 
from a leader in the Church really was. 

I had been started on this rehearsal pilgrimage of moral 
obliquity and Sabbath rectitude by an anticipatory belief that 
I should see, that evening, at the church meeting these two 
antagonistic elements at each other's throats, as it were. I 
wandered about the lawn, caressing the Memsahib's ox-blood 
dahlias, sniffing at the fragrant petunias, tantalizing my finer 
sensitiveness vrith the subtle perfumed breath that came fit- 
fully from the pale lips of My Lady Nicotine, who, now rous- 
202 



The Lone Furrow 



to a cma,„ point when I »"r»n H '"V"'""""^' "^ 

the mone, hf^d S^h^d C 1 "" ""'"^ ""^ ^"-^ "^ 

Now at the meeting Elder MacRae was one „f »i. c 
to express his views, and nobody b« a sI couU U "* 

t-inab,y intermingled reli Jn^L' trS^;:^- '- 
203 



The Lone Furrow 



really appeared as if, in condemning Munro's pastorate, in 
asking the congregation to extend a. call to Minister Grey, 
MacRae was suffering the pangs of martyrdom ; somehow, by 
« far-reaching sweep, he likened himself to Daniel in the lion's 
den, even, I believe, that he was like One driving the pigeon 
dealers from the Temple. 

Bain was sitting beside me at the time MacRae was strenu- 
ously severing the tie of sympathy that connected the congre- 
gation with their absent minister; he leaned over and whis- 
pered : " Yon's a fine saipple of a wife-badgered husband. 
Jennie MacRae has molded the bullets John is firing into 
poor Neil's back. A vindictive woman is as productive of 
condemning reasons as the Jews that were at Pontius Pilate 
to crucify the Saviour." 

There were friends of Munro in the meeting— several, 
but they were sorely hampered by the ethical weakness of 
their cause. Munro had voluntarily gone away, practically 
deserted his post; and so mysteriously that it was impossible 
to combat almost any derogatory reason that might be ad- 
vanced. Besides, the Church was without a head, which was 
of course a very bad affair. These points were brou^t out 
very clearly by what Malcolm called the " Grey party "— 
the eye-for-an-eye and tooth-for-a-tooth party. 

Minister's defenders could plead only for sympathy and 
patience— in fact, judicially their case was lamentebly weak. 
It was Anderson, an elder, cne of those who had been 
stung by Munro's crusade against the sin of intemperance, 
who alluded to the defection of certain members from the 
church, even while Minister Munro was with them. He 
all but said that it would be better if Munro did not 
come bacL 

204 



The Lone Furrrw 



enough ,t was confusing but no' deep. Declamation is vera 
fine-m .ts place. n,i„d you," he qualified-" i„ it" ^1" 
He «peated this sapient rider slowly while he gro^d foT an 
«phcu place for declamation. " On the hustl^^Wera 

Sr::^^::i°;2irw2f^?t:£--- 

tions but'll nn' J • u ^. , '""'^ denomina- 

uons Dutu no do m the Kirk at all, at all " 

«pont:^S':trh^tiT'""^-^'--^«-^- 

.^:".?r r W :r^lr' -'"•'^ '"^ - being 

"th.J„"' '"°"^''' *'"' '"°"«^'" WJ^u-i'd Anderson- 
t^^ngre^uon was very restless during the sermon. Z 

sttrmiif/-'^^^"--^^^^^^^^^^ 

MacRae, he just sat there glowering wi' his glassy eyes 
205 



The Lone Furrow 



(taring in horror at the theories— they were just that, 
theories, nothin' more — propounded by Minister." 

Bain leaned over to me and whispered: " It was vastly 
improper for Munro to rouse Archie Campbell like that. He 
must have been talking about the long-tailed sheep of David's 
time, for Archie just comes to church for a rest I think, a bit 
of sleep; and he's a hard man to make pay for his bed too." 

"Aye," continued MacKay, scratching his head for the 
fugitive rest of his argument that these observations had 
caused to elude him. " Aye, poor Munro, indeed it was I He 
was fair distract. He was a gude man— just in himself, I'm 
meaning, though if he'd exerted less, trusted more in the 
Book, and the power o' the Lord speecified there, he'd a come 
by grander results. He was aye feverish in expression. Ir' 
a large congregation here, and deeflScult to keep in hand for- 
bye, and I'm thinkin' Minister took too much on himsel'." 

Bain pressed his toe gently against my leg to draw my at- 
tention to the extraordinary winding in and out of the Scot's 
argument. 

But MacKay, somehow attracted by a sympathetic remem- 
brance of Munro's zeal, proceeded to neutralize his earlier 
eilorte in behalf of a call. He continued: " Perhaps if Min- 
ister is just biding quietly some place for a bit rest, he'll come 
back to us more in harmony wi' the majesty o' the Presby- 
terian form o' discoorse. If ony one has word o' him, I'd be 
for indulgin' in the patience that we're enjoined to hold. But 
if he's dead, it stands to reason that we're wi'out a pastor. 
Perhaps it would be as well for us to prove this point first. 
I'm no' against Minister Munro, but I'm no' for him if he's 
dead— I mean, I'm no' for keeping the pulpit open indefi- 
nitely." 

206 



The Lone Furrow 



he i^^^£'^^'■. "V?"^" '""^'^y "-''■"'• th" though 
he had talked considerably very little progrew had been made • 
whatever h.s intention, were, he had .po'ed the bn^l? S^' 
many ingredients. ' '"* 

h./'!! ^"'".r?."' '=''"P"K "naciously to one word MacKav 

^r;t:r'"'" -^ " - • "■"^ - •«-"S 

" Fm not for criticising harshly any minister of God " he 

Tkk ?1\ "": ''"' """"hodox in his discourse the TaU 
.tl for "^""".^'^P''- I ^-ember at the time i 
stood for a mmute m the vestibule I said to-well to s^e 

.he;;ri:s;'d:::ci::r"'^"^^"'— 

The sneak means that Munro had been drinkine " whis- 

?rom r^f" "•• " ^I '^■' ^'^ '''- -« such a"kn£ 
from the beginning of things! " '^■■ansee 

" Mind you, friends," added Anderson, " I'm no' entering 
«. -ccusat-on against the absent pastor, l':. just i" f 
general observation bearin' on the matter of holdin' tJe L 
torate open The idle rumors as to his going away Z Z: 
■n our province here to discuss; we must jusf bear in miJS 

moveTb- u': "" '■"""''■"''^ *^'" *« ~ that he rl' 
nioved himself from our midst. The sermon was erratic, a^d 

turbance. Other, saw this, it caused deflections from the 

congregation The people from the fourth Line're dl «! 

tending the Kirk at DunnviUe now. There's a vast ilfferen^ 

207 



The Lone Furrow 



between spiritual guidance and tecular interference, and Min- 
ister Munro did not discriminate. I've known him to tramp 
out to a barn raising a good four miles to lecture the men 
about the evils of a bit drink. Men don't want the yoke 
roughed up to scald their necks. Good intention i* often 
knocked out by overexertion. I've had men workin' myself, 
that had grand plans in the morning of the wonderful things 
they were going to accomplish that day, and by noon they 
were bushed and laid up for repairs. You see I'm givin* 
Minister Munro credit for a grand desire for betterment, but 
I'm thinkin' in the interest o' the Church we ou^t to give a 
call to some one." 

" I'm not very clear from his speech what he's meaning," 
said Malcolm. " Of course he's for Grey, but he's wordy 
without saying much. I think I'd better say a word ; but it is 
kicking against the pricks, they're firm-set already." 

With a little flutter of trepidation I watched Malcolm 
uncoil his huge figure, ungainly beyond any suspicion of ora- 
torical pose. Sitting quietly on the lawn with one or two, 
he could hark back to first principles in a few simple words, 
no matter how deeply involved the discussion might have be- 
come. Elemental principles were ever present in hb mind, 
therefore whatever he said was usually very much to the 
point But how successful would he be here in this discussion, 
bearing in mind that 'he stubborn facts, the patent necessities, 
were with his opponents? 

" I'm not rising to speak in defense of Minister Munro," 
he began, " for that would be wasting your time, as it's not 
needed. There's no charge against him except that he la- 
bored too zealously, and that didn't please some; but that's 
hardly a fault in the Presbyterian Church. There was need 
208 



The Lone Furrow 



for hm. or wme other nght-thinkinr m« of .uthority, ,o 

u .^ ™'"* ^"" ^^'"^ •« 'Pokm of, for the 
week before .n,«. let hi. life beau* of the liquor-hi. pike- 
Pole dipped be«t Mr he wm too drunk to hold it in a pet. uid 
the bent came down, killinj; him, .nd by nothing lew than a 
n,.r«dewere others «ved when the bent crashed to earth. 
It has been spoken as a fault on the Minister's part that there 
were some defections-«,n,e of the member, went elsewhere 
for more agreeable religion. But I'm thinking that you could 
^dly expect a human to hold evenr member of a congre- 
gation, when Chnst Himself couldn't hold Hi, disciples. We 
know, for It i, written in God's word, that when Jesus ac- 
a.^ them of lack of faith they fell away at once-many dis- 
ciples left h.m. But that did not change the Christian re- 
Iigjon^nor we.k«, it. nor destroy Hi, usefulness a, a teacher 
of God s will; and I'm thinking that truthful deninciation of 
wickedness, of evident evil, is as useful a, the pruning hook. 
If It lop, off branches with a canke. at their hearts, the tree 
T ^r r""^' ""'' •""« bwutiful, and bears better fruit 
than If the husbandman had held back in fear and hesitancy 
and allowed the disease to spread, shutting his eye, to its en- 
croachment. 

"Anyway that was our great teacher, Christy, method, 
and It WB the way of the Prophets; it', the lesson in God', 
word. You may gild sin till it passes for virtue, but if a 
ttrong, nght-thinking man unmasks it there it is, hideous and 
revolting, and something to be shunned. 

•_u " ^■''"1* '*"'*'* "'°"*" *»* "« ^^<^ «»ne not to call the 
righteous but sinner, to repentance, and that was the animat- 
ing spirit of oui minister's life. And when he spoke of their 
»in that they might know the danger, and they rsbelled, so 
209 



The Lone Furrow 



much the wone for the tinnen; it couldn't hurt the Church 
or the cause, or anythinE but thamdve*. But it did hurt 
Minuter. I've teen him with tear* in hit eye*, bccaut. he 
feared that he wu weak, and not ttrong enough to call them 
to repentance. 

" And I'm jutt faying thii— I think it'» true— that he was 
worn down with hit hOwrt, and went away for a little rest 
and that with patience we'll find him yet. If we declare his 
pastorate abolished, it will be like tolling a bell to his memoiy. 
Ministers friends here afe not asking this as a right, but 
just u a touch of God's love and charity. If we're Christian* 
in our hearts, we'll not become evil through being satisfied 
with supply ministers for a little yet." 

I think Bain had another poiwt or two annotated on the 
margin of his memory; if he had, they had become blurred, 
tor he hesitated, looked about into the unsympathetic faces of 
the elders in a big pleading manner, and sat down. 

What a fine man Bain is altogether, I thought; but still 
I flit, as I suppose he did himself, that he was dealing with 
precise, not-to-be-disturbed, Scotch minds. 

After a little more discussion it was carrieo by a majority 
of votes that the Presbytery should be asked to appoint the 
Moderator to preach the pulpit vacant the first Sabbath. 

W^at have they done at the meeting?" the Memsahib 
asked when I returned to the Hedge. 

" Well, they've overmastered poor old Bain," I answered ; 

^w'^u^ 'l '**''* '"'■ *' ^" '""'*' *•* Memsahib said: 
We 11 just keep it from Jean as long as we can. She'll come 
to hear it, but one never knows what may happen— we'll just 
put off the evil day as long as we can, perhaps Providence 
will intervene." 

2IO 





CHAPTER XIV 

IN hour Uter the MnnMhib called to me from 
wy Mudy window where the stood. . half- 
drawn curttin in her hand, holding her cheek 
•Sainst the Mft autumn night air that stirred 

J«,J,, * ■ ^! '^'"*' ■*"» °^ •••« "'■«>»'■« resting its 

•lender form against the veranda. 

» .'ISr^tlT?'^ "' the M.d„„„^ j„h„;. ,h, ^ij .. 
."t" "traordmaiy light on the window." 

her ri,oulder"^h^;^''L^ "T"''' """'""f « »«"<> »" 

th J ?i!l?''" "*** T""'^ °"' *' '■■«'"»•" »he added. " Ah I 
there they p.." « ,he glass window became merged in X 
pay wall of gloom that was the stone church. Thai hS 
•T^l-T.""" '.^Memsahib grasped my arm. Tying 
It IS lighted up again! It is uncanny-creepy I" 
"It IS," I confirmed. 

hi Jn J"! "/u*"" ?" ""■^''* '■"^^ »*" ""'iured by some 
high pnest of the^phid mysticism. Now we could L t"e 

wan an?^ "' the Madonna. g„.wi„g discernible. pTi^d 

wan, and th«, reddening to luridness as the BabeVaviour 

materialized m her lap, and out of the darkness thatTur- 

211 



The Lone Furrow 



rounded her, bearded shepherd faces came one by one in a 
flickering light and then were gone as though the owners stole 
a look and fled. 

" Somebody is moving about with a candle or lantern," 
I said; " the church is in darkness." 

" It is like an omen of trouble— of disaster," the Mem- 
sahib answered ; shiveringly she drew a wrap about her shoul- 
ders. 

" Oh, look at it nowl " I cried; the whole window blazed 
red and angiy, and weird, shadows flickered back and forth 
within. 

Suddenly there was a crash, a tinkle, the Babe Christ had 
fallrn from the Madonna's lap, and where He had lain, a 
licking tongue of flame darted forth and lapped at the dark- 
ness. 

The Memsahib gave a scream of affright. I stifled in my 
throat the cry of fire, and by the arm drew her from the 
window. Her face was white. " Is the church on fire? " she 
gasped. 

" For God's sake keep cool, girl; grip yourself." 

I clung to her for a little, and speaking with hushed 
rapidity went on: " Jean! get her to her room at once. And 
the children, too! yes— stay with them." 

" I was thinking of Jean," she said. 

"Quick! there they go! " 

Hurrying feet beat at the board sidewalk tUl it echoed 
like an alarm drum, and one, strong lunged, sent a rolling 
cry of "Fi-re!" as he ran. 

"Quick, Allis!"Iurged. 

Higher up the street the runner's cry was echoed, " Fi-re! 
—fi-re! fi-i-i-r-e!" 

212 



The Lone Furrow 



What dread im-ortit carded how it startled and jumped 
the nerves I 

rVlf '"''' *u ?f*^^*''° ^' -"-«! "P«a.-rs and spoke to the 
children, as, half roused from slumber, they blinked sleepily, 
their faces wrmkled with frightened wonder. 

"There's a little fire in the church," I said; " don't be 
afraid when you hear the reels." 

The boy came running from his room, and almost in 
shame I saw m his face eager joyous excitement. Reels-a 
nre ! It was a kind of game! 

Now the town bell clanged angrily, wamingly, and 
soon there was the reverberating thunder of the high-wheeled 
hose-reel, hyphened by the short imperious clang of its 
gong. * 

Beyond the Hedge the street w iS a pandemonium. Just 
in front of Grandma Murdock's little lawn black spirits of 
the night were clawing at an iron hydrant, and a long gray 
serpent, held by their strong arms, writhed and twisted in the 
dust of the road, and bit open-mouthed at the iron fountain 
From my gateway I watched the figures writhe and twist 
and struggle. It was a shadowed group like the Laocoon. 
With hoarse voices they called to each other; they tugged 
at the unyielding iron. 

With calm fascination I watched this hurried fight against 
time; second, were ages. Now the fierce red tongues across 
the way were lapping and licking at the night with hissing 
exultahon through many rents in the glass window, and be- 
hind die holding stones that were like the walls of a lime 
kiln, there was a crackle of musketry, and against the hydrant 
metal the copper mouthpiece of the canvas hose clicked and 
clattered unavailingjy. Would it never connect! 
213 



The Lone Furrow 



Push her up— push her up— reef on her! " a voice bel- 
lowed, and the order smothered away in an oath, 

" Give her to me I Steady, lads ! " 

Ah, loved voice of soothing confidence, of gripping 
power! And the broad shouldrrs dipping to the work, 
silhouetted bearlilce against the store window across— yes it 
was Bain. ' 

"All right— run her out! " And the man, hurrying from 
the hydrant, laid the canvas serpent up the side street 
Against the gray walls is i ladder. " Up, up! "—it is Mal- 
colm's voice— "smash the window with an ax!" 

The glass is shivered— it falls a tinkling shower; and 
against the broad stone ledge of the rudely opened window 
two men lean, gripping the handles of a copper nozzle. 

Then they fight. The little ants of men, the LiUipu- 
dans, with the javelin of water, thrusting at the demon of 
lire that snarls and hisses through all the front half of the 
church. 

The fire is coming from below, from the basement; the 
floor is all ablaze; the pews are tinder, are rows of fagots to 
feed the hungry maw. 

Anxiously I scan the somber clouds of smoke that rise 
like huge-winged vultures upward and fly to the west. 

"Thank God!" I mutter, "the wind is from off our 
quarter." For it's a shingle roof that tops Lilac Hedge, and 
I have no longing for a shower of burning embers on its cedar, 
«nd a flood frora the hose. I have the garden hose con- 
nected and am throwing a dampening spray of water on our 
front. 

I bless the sheltering maples; even as they beat back the 
scorching sun in summer days, sb now they barrier from us 
214 



The Lxoae Furrow 



this fierce flame, their guarding leaves, shriveled up, dying in 
he combat and floating .way on gossamer spirit wings or 
fallmg blackened and charred to earth. 

The oaten doors of the church, barrier between the push- 
ing draught of air and the sucking flames, eaten into, give way. 
They collapse hke a burnt-out Catherine wheel. The draught 
makes hoarse music as it roars through the aperture. Driven 
before this fannmg wind a hot blast belches forth to scorch 
the mens faces who hold the hose. Insatiably drinking a, 
though ,t apped 0.1. fire creeps along the floor with the un- 
cneckable force of an incoming tide. 

Opposite, another window is smashed, and the copper bar- 

Jhitigh "''^^''' """"^'"^ " """^'"'^ "'•""• '■* *''™" 

Now the battle holds even; the balance tips slowly this 
way and then that way. and victory hangs poised between the 
nre and its fighters. 

Suddenly a cry of fright goes up from one of the win- 
dows. 

w-J ^^ ^'l'}^^'' ^'^^ "* *"' " "'« Sweeny, clinging, 
with scorched f^. to the copper nozzle, as a man rJl 
drunkenly mto the blaze of light from the shadow of the 
great organ. He has come up a little stairway that leads from 
basement to apse, the choir passage. 

... '"'* J""*"^' sulphurous light shows his face pale, bluish 
like a death mask; his eyes are starting from his head with 
fright He gives a cry like a caged animal, and recoiling 
from the scorching heat, fall, against the organ. He wheels, 
and rushes to the stairway up which he has come. Below 
«ie basement is a furnace, an incinerating pit of cremation. 
He starts back with a cry of despair. 
215 



The Lone Furrow 



" Help I My God ! " he cries, and shuts the blare of light 
from his eyes with an arm. He is dazed. 

Bsin, on the ladder behind the two hosemen, bracing 
them with his shoulders to the window 1-dge, hears the fire- 
man's cry of fr'ght and calls: " What is it, Dick? " 

"Craig is in the church! and, God in heaven, he'll be 
burned alive!" 

" Hold steady, lads ! " Bain calls ; " brace against the wall, 
Im coming." 

Betwcin their legs he creeps; his knees are on the stone 
ledge; one look, to balaiice in the scales the chances, then 
he says: " Play the stream on the floor; I'm going after the 
poor lad." 

From window ledge to floor Bain dropped with panther- 
like lightness; down an aisle and up to the apse; then his big 
hand lifted the figure that huddled against the organ. 

"Up, man, up! Stand on your legs! You're saved! 
You're saved! — do you hear?" 

His words carried no meaning to the senses numbed by 
fear; the alcohol-sapped nerves, unstrung, were broken cords. 
" Come with me — you're saved ! " 
Then dragging Craig like an unwilling child, Bain pushed 
down the steps, and as the flames, ever creeping on their path 
of destruction, brushed hot against their forms, Craig shrank 
back and fought like a maniac 

" You fool ! " Bain roared in anger, as he swung from the 
pulpit a red plush chair. 

It was a fearful hazard ; the floor hung by its half-burned 

sills, a treacherous sieve; the fire had eaten it like a moth- 

rid(?-n cloth; and from below flames darted up through the 

wooden mesh of its networL From the window eager helpers 

2l6 



The Lone Furrow 



» 



waited as Malcolm, now carryine CraiV r„„, Z ! 
warH rh.... ■ , .'^ '^"'K. crept cautiously to- 

ward them sometimes hidden by the smoke. 

Ki- i ^T , '^**' J"" '""««''• '■" one hand the chair Half 

ss:i^rrar^ixs;;chfr:?i-!,^^ 
?rj lid trj;Sitter^ ----'. 

dowt'ar?iLV*""" '™" *^ '^'^'■*' -'"''0- 'hrust 
downward I.ke the swmgmg cut of a scimiter and struck with 
awM force the chair back on which rested Bain's feet 

Swin.'c1 ""T*^- "''^ """'«' ^^^ 'he window ledge 
bweeny s fingers relaxed their grasp and Crai.,'. KoT i • 

-OSS M3, ws neck, carried himl^n £f trS^ bT 

S. shot tr tT' ""' ^""^ «^' » ««"- S -1 
Crjug shot through. h.s rescuer lying half stunned ac^ss a 

floor'ti'dt^rl dta 7"T •"' "'"^^ "''-"" '"' 
ine blott,„» ,vT u . ? * *"°*'^ '^'P' °ver the open- 
ing, blottmg it from the vision of the watchers. 

her h!^f if °'tr~I"''' " ^""' " ^'"■I^'J Sweeny. " Hold 
her hard. Donald-pUy the water fair on the floor! " an^ 
^«p.ng a rung of the ladder he dr. ped to the Sd. c^ 

side-in thTf.""""'^ *:'•'"''='' ^'"""y «^'ed: "Bain's in- 
s.de-„ the basement. Smash the back doorl Here Mai"' 
he called, as one came running with an ax. « h" h 'r! The 
lock, you damn fool!~the lock! " ,. ♦», i I ^ 
bounded from a heavy ^^ i!^,! ^,'1^''',^: °^ '"' « ^ 
15 2iy 



The Lone Furrow 



A crashing blow and the cast metal sprayed them with 
iron hail. 

Some force from within swung the door as it loosed from 
Its holding bolt; a figure reeled forth, shoulders first, and 
plunged against their legs; beneath it, clutched in the mighty 
arms, was a rag-doli of humanity, limp, senseless. 

"Malcolm! B'ys, b'ys, he's alive! Merciful powers! the 

other wan, too! Lift him, men, lift him ! " bellowed Sweeny. 

Are you hurted, Malcolm?" he continued solicitously, 

bending to thrust an arm under the brawny Scot's head, and 

purring into the blackened face. 

Bain answered something; it was a groan, a struggling 
cry for mastery over his failing senses, a fight against uncon- 
sciousness; calling himself out of stupefying lethargy. Half 
consdously he rolled his body from off the man that was 
crushed beneath his weight. 

*| Where's Doc?— heigh. Doc Weston!" Sweeny called. 
" All right, Dick," a voice answered; I'll look after them. 
Here, men, bear a hand— we must get them to some house 
quick," he added. 

" My house," I said ; " it's close by, and there's room." 
Eager men darted forward, and Bain, struggling to his 
knees, said wearily: "Give me a— steadying hand— some- 
one, Tna— queer— I'm queer— I can't see." 

"Youse b'ys look after Bain," commanded Sweeny. 
" Doc'U tell you what's wanted." Then in futility he turned 
fiercely upon the firemen at the window. " Get her down, 
b'ys! Damn it, men, down wit' her— down wit' the hose!— 
in at the back door; yer t'rowin' water at the moon, up 
there! " 

" I'll huriy on ahead," I said to Doctor Weston. 
2l8 



The Lone Furrow 



^ J How « the fire? " Men«ahib «kcd as I a«„, to the 

"They're beating it down," I answered aloud; and in an 
undertone added " B«n is hurt, and Craig is wo^. Th;'; 

hell have to get to bed— he's bad." 

;; We must break it to Jean," she answered, 
slow IT- '" .''" now-^uick, before they come." A 

s ow-movng procession of black figures was now crossing the 
street, coming to the Hedge. ^ 

«tt,W ' ^T^'^. P««<J to A^ veranda where Je«, w„ 
^I^must have Robert .n my room; I au, take care of hi. 

I felt a trembling hand on my arm, there was a weak 
querulous puU at my sleeve, and little Teacher, on tilt? 

Jean's room. ' ^ * '"* *' ^''J' to 

Craig looked like a blackened corpse on a bier «, the 

men laid h.s form tenderly upon the snowy sheet. ' "^ 
Bam had puUed himself together. "I'm not needing , 

X U be no good at the fire." "•"«mg 

Hs^ at the b.g man w.th a power of hero worship in 

wwled. I U wait to hear what Weston says." 
219 



The Lone Furrow 



In her room Jean was sitting beside the bed, her face 
paler than ever, waiting for the verdict, as Doctor Weston 
examined the battered body of her brother. 

I could do nothing but help the Memsahib bring such 
thmgs as the Doctor from time to time called for in a quick, 
low voice. Sheets were torn into bandages, sweet oil and 
vaseline requisitioned, and even then, when the Doctor's skill 
had done what it could, his verdict was one of indecision. 
Craig was not dead— that was all. There was evidently some 
serious injury though— « an unlocated fracture or internal 
hurt. Then Bain's wounds were dressed. 

During a lull in the physical salvage within the house, I 
stood watching the dragon of destruction consume the bones 
of the church. 

Tongues of fire, eating through the roof, lapped angrily 
at grotesque smoke forms that fled heavenward. At times 
diere was the boom of falling timbers or a dislodged stone. 
The chimneys fell with the grinding crash of an avaianche, 
sending a myriad cloud of starlike glowing cinders up from 
between the walls. 

At first the steeple rose like a black marble monolith ; then, 
glazed by the lurid vermilion, its tin-shingled sides glittered 
as a golden pagoda, to pass in transformation, as the Hame- 
tongues licked its bones to a skeleton, into a tapering network 
of fireline design ; a giant fern, its fronds diamond-Ughted by 
sun-kissed dewdrops. It was weirdly beautiful penciled 
aj^'nst the black sky in running letters of red and yellow. 
Hissing serpents darted up its steep incline, vomiting particles 
of fire that, carried by the wind, glinted like stars, and then 
were swallowed up in the night. But presently its wooden 
structure was consumed by the monster that roared as he fed ; 
220 



The Lone Furrow 



it .w.yed drunkenly, and then can,e down between the .tone 
walls of the k.ln that belched upward like . volcano 

..hjb «.d. comm, to me. " They'll be wet and t^red. Z 
for Z " '• ^'^ ""^ *'" *" •«"" '»'«" "O"- 

s^.^ .^''^rJ" !• ' "'""'• ^^"^ "^ M""~ «"d his cru- 
sade against drinkmB. some of those who toile'I ..ross the 
way, had been won from intemperance, but thfs would be an 
hour of tnal for them. The village was hospitable; the ta" 

wTlT •^'""°"»/° « ^""l': '•" ""'taken kindness there 
would be open bar for the gallant men. 

" Will you go, husband, and ask the lads to come as they 
can-« few at a time?" the Memsahib asked. 'Til put a 
W °"n J ''''"'?^ t«W,s-they can help themselves; and 
S«^ W.11 keep plenty of coffee steaming hot. Tell them 
that, husband, please, steaming hot." 

" Wise little woman," I praised, patting her cheek ; " and 
don t forget Jean. Slip up and give her a word of enciurag^ 

came TZ T '^T" ^«»«^''''* '^''^- and « the chance 
came they burned across, singly and in twos and threes, for 
the steammg bowl that was better than liquor. 

Once as I stood in the study I heard a rustle on the stair- 
way, and Jean came into the room. 

"IVe come to thank you, Mr. Bain," she said, holdine 
out her hand to Malcolm. " The Doctor has been t C mf 
how y^u^nsked your life for my brother. You are a bLe, 

lampli^t tears glistening on her pale cheeks. 
221 



The Lone Furrow 



JlTj • ' ^"./"Uhtened little h.rc— veo^ d«„p drmt- 
^ed hwe; not only her dcim dripping wet, but her fwe , 
course for a nver of tear*. 

" Where have you been, Miss Harkett ? " I asked 
Across the way. Oh, Doctor Cameron, it's dreadful! 
The organ » destroyed, and we'll never get another one-we 
haven't the money 1 " , 

jj ., " ^"'* *"""' ""^"t that, Miss Harkett-we can't help 

wrath of God for all the dissension and falling from grace." 
Well we can t he^p that either; but you can help getting 
soaked with water, and catching your death of cold-that's 
very unwise." 

"I just don't care. Doctor Cameron; I'm ready to give 
up! and the little body gave way to a passionate fl.^'^ol 
tcftrs* 

nJnl^ll-' ^^ ""^"*' *'°" ""'* ^^e^ J">" ^^ trap- 
pmp, All., will give you something dry to put on. You're 
falling yourself w.th excitement; we must put you to bed." 

Icdled the Memsahib-who took Teacher to her room. 

When the Memsahib came back she said: " Was there 
ever such a conscience-troubled goose? She's now working 
herself into a fever, saying that it's all her fault, and the 
organ's fault, and Heaven knows what." 

" The organ's fault! the excitement has unbalanced her- 
what IS she talking about? " ' 

.J']^^ ^ T f*^ ''**"'* *' "'^ '•"»'« Mrs. Paisly 
and old Jimmie Johnston out of the congregation." 

232 



The Lone Furrow 



She, ju« upset." I Miwered. " The orgw, hw been 

^tu^i '• w".' 'T' '"'* ''«'"'«'■'»' »>« unnerved her. 
^ be all nght m the morning. Give her a cup of hot 
coftee, and cover her up; Nature will put her all right " 

One of the last to come for coffee was Sweeny; and 
even then, w.th two hour, of heroic toil crusted on him, hi, 
eye. were .till b.g w.th the light of battle, hi, gaunt friLe. 
whipcord and bone and parchment, still of elastic springineM. 
^JHc tilted a cup at hi, lean lip,, and it, seething contentt 

"B'y,l" he ejaculated, pluralizing my onene«. for we 
were alone and dropping the cup back to it, wucer with an 
emphatic clatter, " yon wa, devil', work." 

" The fire? " I quctioned, ,tartled. 

" f "'h, I don't know about that, but the knockin' down 
or Bain was fair murder." 

" They Mid it was an accident." 

n-J'^^J''™' ^ *'"""*^' ^' ""^ ""»'«'«^' I "11 you; an' 
God , judgment on the Divil's ,pawn-cur«r hi, black heart! 
—that took the cowardly chanst." 

" Who wa, it? " I a,ked, my voice dropping to an invol- 
untary whi,per. 

"Who WW it? Who's been makin' h;, boast, that he'd 

MacKiUop. I seen it-I sren the devil's face acrost in the 
-nd|e when Malcolm and Bob dropped. I tell ye. l^, 
Apje s ei « was fair jumpin' from their «Kiet,. The cur« 
o God on such as that black-hearted coward. B'ys, b'ys, b'ysl 
but It was cowardly ! " J>3f',oy,s 

If Cr^^'dlTli'' ''''''"''■" ^ ^'' " "' "^'' '" " '^ ^^ 
223 



ii 



The Lone Furrow 



You'll never prove it— d«nin him I— never. He'll claim 
th.t he WM helpin'— that he w» keepin' the fire down on the 
floor— th«t the pretture wu too strong fer him. The Divil 
ju»t throwed the chantt hit wiy «n' he took it— the black- 
hearted skunk I But if ever I git a chanst at him, may the 
Lord forgive me, an' stay me hand short of murder. B'ys, 
bysl To throw a man to his death— it was near his death— 
that was riskin' his life to save a rapscallion that wasn't 
worth gom' into that pit of fire fori I'm goin' back; we've 
got her under control— tAe big stone walls saved themselves 
and that's about all that's left." ' 

Sweeny's words filled me with unutterable depression. An 
accident and the possible loss of life, no matter how useless 
that life, was sad to contemplate, but that here in our little 
village of law and order we had one a cowardly murderer, 
was a thought seeming to drag us all down in the humaii 
scale. Even the elevating example of Bain's heroic e«Fort 
failed to neutralize this dreadful glimpse of depravity. 

I sought to escape from these things of felony by shutting 
the door of the dining room behind me, like locking them in 
a cell, as I passed to the study where Bain was resting on a 
couch. 

" Are you feeling better, Malcolm ? " I asked, drawing a 
chair beside him. 

" I'm not bad," he answered ; " my eyes trouble a bit, but 
I can see. I was afraid that I'd been blinded. Everything 
was black when I got out— before I got out; I just groped 
my way to that door. I knew the road well— I'd been over 
it often— or I'd never have made the open. But the door 
was locked— Oh!" 

Bain coughed. 

224 



The Lone Furrow 



.n„i'^/ 'r^nf ^' *^'^^"^' ''•" thinking." he added 
.pol<vt.c«lly. '. When I found the door iml ttou^t^ 
w« d^ up. for I h«ln't «uch left in the way of ,,3' i 

infeZl"ro 'fh* J"'* *'"'• ^''~'"'' '» «» ""o^" '•"»» that 
iniemo— to the basement after Robert." 

with 17.7""'"'' ""^* *°:: """='• °^ ''• "•"•" »>« "»w«ed. 
with pla.nt.ve senousne*,; " for. would you believe it I wa^ 
just ui a funk all the time." ' *"* 

"You acted like it," I declared sarcastically. 

Crai. wT'* ^^ ^]T ^ J"" ^'^^'^ '^"^'^ ^^'"^ poor 
Cr«g had dropped and the fire wasn't bad there at all. it was 

trb^t". °?r r' "' ""* ''^^ A"«' I bought I'd ir 

tbeb^k^doorofthebasement easier than I-dcomeup through 

. . "M*""!". yfu're just telling lies." I said. "You were 
th.nk.ng of nothing but saving Craig, and you knew you 
were t.k.ng the shortest kind of a ch«.ce on your own life 
How^d,d .t happen th« the boy was there it aU; do you 

" That's been bothering me." Malcolm answered. " I saw 
hm. at the meefng. «,d I was , bit shamed, for. poor chap. I 
»uld see he wa. the worse for the drink. He was7ttingT;e 

the bench, or perhaps to the floor. Coming out from the 
»«t.ng eveiybody was taking about what L be,^ done 
jnd he was overlooked, I suppose. I'm sure I forgot M >b^t 

"And old Tommy the caretaker is that blind he would 
225 



The Lone Furrow 



never see anydiing when he was putting out the lights," I 
added. 

" No, he wouldn't I suppose the lad woke up with the 
fire all about him ; that's how he was like a horse in a burning 
stable, just fair crazy. And when he rushed up the choir 
stairs there he was cut ofiF again." 

" The fire must have sUrted from the furnace," I said. 

" We'll never know that. It's not going regular yet, and 
old Tommy put on a wood fire to take the chill o£E for the 
meeting. Most likely h^ dropped a coal among the wood- 
there was some pfled beside the furnace, I saw." 

" Well, the cause is nothing now, the effect— the terrible 
result, dwarfs that into insignificance. Your miraculous escape 
makes us thankful that it is no worse," I said. 

Bain drew a long breath that ended in a cough. " It's 
the smoke," he said ; " I can taste it." 

A grotesque smile flitted over his lips— grotesque, indeed 
fiercely droll he looked, the stubble of his singed beard and 
mustache standing out stiflly like the growth on a tramp's 
face. 

" I'm thinking," he said, " that they'll not preach the pul- 
pit vacant come Sabbath— the Lord's ahead of them. Per- 
haps," he added, " though I shouldn't say it, it's His hand we 
saw manifest to-nij^t. He worketh in mysterious ways, and 
I have a feeling that we'll have Munro back before the pul- 
pit's ready for an occupant" 

" Teacher thinks it's a judgment on the congregation for 
its disaennon. The members will have to unite now, anyway, 
over rebuilding the kirk." 

" It'll mean a bit of debt, too," Bain sigjied. " What's 
it like now," he asked, as I came back from a look at the fire. 

zz6 



The Lone Furrow 



"It is out," I answered ; " just smoldering." 

Aln,«t immediately the body of firemen came to the house 

^ tu , ""• •"'' "•*" *" '* ^^ '^ ^-'Mcred sak 
to go home, leaving one reel and a guard over the smoldering 

take a bed for the night in my house. 

All throug;h the dark hours, dark in every way, we 
fought m Jean's room the silent battle, heritage of the fierce 

hou^l,*^"' *T' JT °'«='«=^-«t'". «l««t. mysterious 
hours, hours in which disaster grows-like shadows-over- 
mMtenngly strong; hours to steep one's spirit in despair. 

L?'^ri "* '" ""^ ''"''''' *'"^'"« ''■■'""I "'""Kht* ■•" "ni- 
«.n wid, the monotonous tick-tick, tick-tick of the mantel 

t^A T-°"' '•""''^' '■'' •* *' "«^8e had drifted into 

Wd iiwd?'** ""'"" ^ "* '"''""*" ''^'- ^'"^ 

Above my head was a muffled sound of feet where a 

ruins cut jagged lines against a starlit sky. Even the leav« 
« Ae maples were rfiriveled to death by the destroying 

At tm«, with almost noiseless steps, the Memsahib came 
to me, begging that I would go to rest But she would not 
leave Jean, and so I, too, could not sleep. 

Early the street filled with curious villagers, solemn of 
^, who moved about like convicts of a ch.in-g«,g ; on their 

tt-l lirf I ^T'' *•* """nsciously suggested «,me. 

thmg bqrond the ordinary mundane happenings of life. The 

ch««h destroyed seemed to have removed the guarding care 

287 



The Lone Furrow 



of God. Thejr were sheep without a fold ; restless, magnify, 
ing the material loss into a spiritual deprivation. 

We of the Hedge were almost too much depressed for 
word*. I had not slept at alL 

On die lawn Jean came to me saying: " I feel that I shall 
choke— I want to fill my lungs with air." 

"How is Robert?" Iasked;"anychange for thebetter? 
MS anythmg been done— can anything be done? " 

" We seem just helpless," she answered bitterly. " He 
hovers, the doctor says." His body lies there on the cot, 
broken, disfigured; I can stretch out my hand and touch it; 
but the poor boy himself, his spirit, I cannot find. I can just 
pray to his Maker for mercy for him. The prayer of the 
righteous availeth much, it is written that way. Doctor Cam- 
eron, but what are mine— wfll they be answered— wiU they 
avail? In my heart I ciy, ' Why am I tried ? ' AU that I love 
w blighted, and in despair, I cry out against God's vengeance. 
And then I pray, pleading: ' Merciful God! lessen the load 
— »pare my brother— give me back my husband.' " 

"You are overtired Jean," I ventured, soothingly. " Rob- 
ert is certainly now brought close into the hand of 
God, and you must drive from your mind these doubts, these 
questionings." 

"} ^~^ plead— I offer contrition ; I wiU never doubt, 
I will force myself to resignation if my brother be spared. 
He isn't ready. If he dies now wUl he be punished for all 
eternity for the sin that was not his— that had been handed 
down to him?" 

"We mustn't discuss it, Jean— not now; we must just 
try to save his life." 

I was g^ad when the children came eagerly from the 



The Lone Furrow 



Bowe. bringmg their young lives as a revivifying tonic to our 
somber mood. 

Thqr were materialists, their vision short-focused to re- 
ality; the spiritual, the meuphysical. everything was elimi- 
nated but the actuality of the fire. It was a building that had 
l*een burned; and the wondrousness of the hose reel that 
rfirew water without pumping fUled them with astonishment. 
Their phjlosophy was healthy. Somehow it drew us, Jean 
and myself, closer to the air, and the sunlight, and the sky, 

J uT. '"** "^'"^ "'■" ^'* "*• tho-Bh "ot dothed 
as they had been yesterday. 

Kippie, youngest, having traveled the shortest journey into 
lifes field of care, was loquacious; while Laddie, his enthu- 
siasm roused by the doings of the night, declared he was going 
to be a fireman when he grew up. And he was going to be a 
hero like everybody was saying Mr. Bain was; only in his 
book the hero was a man who killed people and then married 
the pnncess. Then how was Mr. Bain a hero if he didn't kill 
anybody? 

Teacher had not appeared ; and presently when Memsahib 
joined us she struggled in vain to smooth a troubled look from 
her face. 

" Miss Harkett is not very well this morning," Memsahib 
said; she has caught cold, and is nervously excited. She's 
had trouble with her heart before— I must have Doctor Wes- 
ton look at her when he comes." 

"' I thought he was here still," I said. 

" He went home for breakfast— I couldn't induce him to 
wmajn. Breakfast is ready now. Try to eat something, 
«««ar, she said, putting her hand on Jean's shoulder. "Mal- 
colm IS with Robert, and I'm going to remain, too, untU you 
229 



___^ The Lone Furrow 

have h.d wmething to eat. Doctor Weston h» telegraphed 

K ,"11 u • r"*'" '^ "^^ '"™'"K to "«. "and she 
should be here by nine o'clock." 

" I can't eat," Jear. answered wearily ; <• I should choke- 
The Menaahib's breakfast con«sted in taking a cup of 

about the table ,t was a gloomy breakfast. I. tortured over 

for tf "*= ""'^' '•'•"^ "y ™«=« •■" « hospital 

for crusu;:vi bodies and stricken souls. 

.t.iU'^'^^A 'i!'"'* ** '"'^ '*'" °* °°^'°r Weston on the 
stoinvay, and after a tune he came down to where I sat in the 

" You look tired, Doctor," I said. 

I h^T^' ! ""T-* ^ ""^ ''°*- "« ^"^ ^''y-^'Kht hours. 

last tD, r • '"T '" "'"'"'" '" ** «'""♦'''• "'^ht before 
iMt— that » the joy of a country doctor's life-and last nieht 
of course, we were aU busy." 

" How are your two patients? " I asked 
"I have three now. Bain is all right-*t least he's burned 
and bnnsed enough to keep weakling, like you or me in bed. 
I dare say, but he's very much of a horse-at any rate be c«. 
p home now. I'm altogether lost over Craig. He's badly 
injured .n some part of hi, anatomy. He's still unconsdoui 
but that's just a, well! that pm of it is chiefly due to «- 
h.ust.on-h« system ha, been gutted by alcoholic fire tfll 
h.s sp.r.t live, in a half-furnished tenement, so he ha. just 
coUap«d. ButI'mfe.rfulth.tthere'saninjuo'tothcsplne, 
'3° 



The Lone Furrow 



P«b^ly when he fell. I'm goJ„g to send to York for Doctor 
U)lton for a consultetion." *-^iur 

n.Sf it. pLfi.""""'"'^ '"' •"■* """ - """'' -- ^» 

"I know— I understand. You may be sure I'll fieht 

^et^hard for hfs hfe. You'll be justified in offering er t 

something. But I m concerned over Miss Harkett " 

eycs^rftteTXr " ""■""' '-^^ '■" "'' -'"-"^ ^'^ 

" Teacher!— isn't it just a little cold? " 
lit. IT*^ t "W-but not a little one. Her heart is going 
hke a tnp hammer; and nervesi they're like floss silk. vLt- 
.ng a every touch-it's a wonder she didn't drop last night 
She always was a fretty little body; the sweetest creature in 
the world, and the most conscientious Christian-her real 
disease is organ on the brain." 

chujd! o^^!'' ' '"""''^''-' " '''"'■"« "«« "■« '^^"^'^ 
"Yes. You'd better get her home. Cameron-^he'll be 

to Mrs. Cameron. I'll go my rounds and come back." 




231 





CHAPTER XV 

IHE conflagration had left a governing influ- 

■ ence upon the village. The fire seemed to 

have lapped at the uncharitable hearts of the 

goMips, incinerating the venom, leaving what 

breathed m the atmosphere. 

Church matters had taken a wider s«,pe, touching the 
adherents ,n their most vital spot-the pocket; dwarfing the 
questjon of a pastor, subduing the enmity to Neil Munro; on 
everybody s tongue was the paramount queiy, Where was the 
money to come from to rebuUd the church and supply the 
organ r 

• L^'f .*^*' ^*'" '"'^ '"'' opportunity and seized upon it 
with big-hearted avidity. He confided to me hi, plan to 
utilize this secular difficulty in cornering the spiritual market. 
The loudest exhorters will be the most near over con- 
tributing, said Malcolm. "They'll figure that speech is 
^Iden and oflfcr it instead of the baser coin. They'll be full 
of wise counsel over raising the wind, but they'll pull a long 
rtce of hard times, smut in wheat, murrin in the cattle- 
heavens knows what all, to keep from giving. I'll just let 
them dawdle along until I see they're fair stuck, then 111 
232 



y^^ Lone Furrow 



JPve . round .um out of hand. a„d I'll loan ,h~ " 

low intereit— on condiVmn ' """ ^ " '«»n them more at a 
W.»l.„ . ,.• **"""«»"' «ye. on condition." 

•J"«e. unadorned, uncar^S £'"•"",' "'^ P'"'"'- The 
earless. w„ enougS "7^ „*!,"" '■"J' ^'T'"'' "'-^ '"<« 
Grey. The austere Sco^Z^dMn."."^^"' **'"'«" 
fc«l their presence thtl~; f ^ ,f ' " *" "^^ "°"''' 
fi«, but this unususllZtion^ u^'"''""""'^'^^^- 
J«.nity enacted inle town J j"",-''' '"'''""■^« - 
Vnist,. shorn of it, profound a^ V" "^'^'"' '" *' Cal- 

to the g,Wr«:k hurHlTof Ts? T """'"■"'^ «^'" 
The first <?»^K .u. . * Salvationists. 

hall co^Xy t '«^d't"-"' ""^ '^''"'"■•' '■" '"« to- 
thedesireof the™ :?' hI^'Z-?'"'' "'"'^"■°"» ^-™ 
f^ly in the acoustiSl, h^ P«v.sh «,ueaky voice rose fit- 

.aj^i^str^p^fAt^fir^- "^--«^ 

-tin^thaT^l^^Et^tt^? 
^l""-" and the benches sSeeS^H „ tu^rT "^^ ''"y- ^he 
'•"K the irritating treWe^TS^fe^ "^;r«^ "«"'• -""'- 
««». Resignation to Jet Jl If nJ^' 9.^^,'° "»*ing- 
P«ted from the text: " ThTlu P^^ '^f •"* '^'^«' ■««- 
"•i the gates thereof .rfb^S wi^'^ '" '""'^ "^ 



The Lone Furrow 



It wat all about that the kirk had been destroyed, as 
Jerusalem had, because of sin, and, somehow it appeared from 
the Minister's exhortation that he, like Nehemiah, would 
build it up again, bringing the Lord's favor to bear upon the 
work. 

I was thinking he wi. jld have a more difficult task bring- 
ing all the Mac-Somethings freely to the work, than Nehe- 
miah had had with the men of Judah. 

I fancy that everyone felt as I did, that while we mi|^t 
subdue our spirits to acceptance of such trials as the burning 
of the kirk, it was just a little too much to take on the trying 
yoke of Minister Grey for an indefinite period. 

I surmised that after that Sabbath, Bain's prophetic hope 
that Munro would occupy the rebuilt pulpit would material- 
ise so far as Minister Grey was concerned. 

The consultation with Doctor Colton over Craig's con- 
dition left the case somewhat as it was before — problematicaL 
The boy had regained consciousness, but an indicated paral- 
ysis of the lower limbs confirmed Doctor Weston's hurried 
diagnosis that the spine bad suffered. The evident injuries, 
bums and bruises, were unimportant, though they had added 
in a shock to the nervous system. 

Dr. G>lton's advice had been to wait for time's devdop- 
ment ; nursing and care would cure the patient of everything 
but the suspected bone fracture, whether of the spine or hip 
joints. 

So at the Hedge we were in a state of solicitous suspense. 
I think that, strangely enough, the care of her brother bene- 
fited Jean. The nerves, fed by action, worked more smoothly 
than they had when irritated by the brooding brain. 

That Jean's nature was altogether lovable I came to 
234 



The Lone Furrow 



Z^ ^'^^ly ""d" th«e condition,. Perhaps it wm ,h,t 
UMclfeh «.bject>o„ of her own affliction to her bnlther'. neS. 

vl^f rr: ""r' '-''"'''■ '' "-^ >-"«'<'. •»! 

.elfish. ,„ that she watched her brother', slow. alcohX .ul' 
c.de w,th p«ive indifierence; that becaule he w J . 

rtLZ A^ . T*" "" *•' "" unplea«nt vision of . 
relative disgraced, that she avoided hin, out of a hearties! 
antipathy to her Ieg.tin,ate duty; that, figuratively, like cii" 
•he said: " Am I my brother's keeper ? " 

heard V"' '"''^'^Y !""'' ^" ''^'^"^ ^"•^"J "«> <>"« h«d 
heard her speak of hi, infirmity. Sphinxlike she h«l sat 

htough the years of his retrogression, unspeaking. immutably 
s l«.t m tongue and eye. Where she should hav wep "S„ 
of bitterness, she gave no sign. 

It was thus the village had summed up its judgment of 
not-^demanding. superficially reading thelteJ pa^?;,:! 

Zed .K T ''"V* '""^"'"^ """^ «'"»* that was^n. 
graved in the heart of the sister 

Zlh *" woman-herself needing sustaimnent from 

sympathy-poured out like a river of wine over the ZJ 
v^ed lad who lay helpless, his big eyes watching her T. 
babe fbUows the movements of a mother. 

„-A 2!!?"" ^^'^°^^ "^^ "^y *'■'"« ""l for«»l Jean, 
w,A gentle word, of reproach, to go out into the «mlight. o 

;^ri^l ^L^"^"^ ^''^ *" *-"«• And I brought my 
•uthonty to bear to the same end. 

235. 



The Lone Furrow 



Sisterly love I yea, I came to know that it wa« at great, a* 
deep, as abiding as the love that is the theme for bards, u I 
watched Jean in these sad days. 

Of course, from the very first there was the question of 
the part alcohol was to play in the treatment of the patient. 
Dr. Weston was an unusually common-sense practitioner, 
brushing aside theoretical formulas in favor of his loved as- 
sistant Nature. " Wait, have patience," was engraved in his 
quiet, thoughtful blue-gray eyes. " No violence to the good 
Dame, my masters, but just a little humoring of her, and a 
little of learning lessons from her." I am sure he talked like 
this to himself. 

However, he said of Craig: " His system will crave the 

food it has fed upon " 

" Is it a food, Doctor? " I asked ; " I have read that " 

" Yes," he interrupted, " one may read himself to destruc- 
tion. I will admit that alcohol is a bad food, but just now 
we will bend it to our needs. The patient will require a 
very, very little." 

If I regretted this, hoping that perhaps a chance had come 
to essay a cure of Robert's diseased appetite, Jean rebelled. 
She pleaded with the Doctor, argued with him, besought 
him, saying: " It is a poison that searches out the innermost 
recess, the niche in which the soul has its existence. Cannot 
his physical strength be . ^stained except at the cost of his 
eternal life? You say he may recover; but to come back 
to a life that is a living death — It is hard to say it I 
know, God must forgive me, but this would be wone 
than if he died with the renundation of strong drink as 
atonement." 

The doctor wavered. " It's risky," he said, in his com- 
236 



/^^c Lone Furrow 



raon-iense manner " ;»•. ..vl .^ — ' 

abruptly." "* ™^'' '" »*^"«* '»»« human ,y„«„ 

-^. KXd^frd"'"'"'""* '"« - «"« • 

■»M«d evil wa. the storv „i K i ^ * «tenu«tion for 
pent that had Tou^ 1^ ' '?'"' ^<^^' "«««« the «r- 

^c talked lUrel iVhT" "k ""^ "" ''"*"• A» 
-Wng h« pride r'lw „ u"^ r'*'"" '•'« •»<* »««>«. 

«er in praye^Td I^^ ^' Jf m'^' ""*'' '^'''« •"• "«■ 
h™.eIf.pleadL.gth.TtheI~ .^f" """^ *«» "^^i™ 
««oved. It wi rb-«er^T ° •"^'"*''' •P'*'''' ""•itht be 

.tJe^tf ^el^X ft:C ^"". "•■''• " "''«' "^ ''•«^«<' 

enemies over it; butT w« " ''""« ''»"''' •"«« «»«««« 

' ""' '" '^»» " «»nscientiou8 «rvant of hi. 
237 



The Lone Furrow 



Matter, and I don't see what elie he could have done. 1 
suppote," I added, " that thii pawion for drink hat ruined 
more hornet in the village than all other cautct combined — 
don't you think to?" 

Jean did not aniwer at once, and looking at her quickly 
I taw a mott unearthly pallor upon her featuret; her face wat 
drawn with abject mixry. 

"You are ill — ^you have overdone yourself — don't talk 
any more," I pleaded. 

" I am better now," s)^ added. " It wat just a ipatm ; my 
nervet are tricky. What you say is true, Doctor Cameron, 
but you do not know the full depth of the misery this cuned 
diing entailt. Do you know what a home is in which lurkt 
thit monster? It it a living hell — it is like those homes in 
India where they harbor a cobra, not knowing the minute the 
terpent may ttrike in the dark." 

" You have known it," I said, " but let us hope that it 
it now put." 

"Yet, my God! I have known it. If I could tell you 
all — all— everything — No, a thousand times, no— I can't — I 
mustn't I" 

I wat startled by Jean's vehemence, but I attributed it to 
her overtried nervet. 

" Neil tried everything to save Robert. He pitted him- 
telf againtt an army of destroyers — men who were always 
ready to drink with the boy and tempt him. In desperation 
my husband — at a latt resort, prohibited the hotel from tell- 
ing liquor to Robert. Thu could never cure the disease — 
King Alcohol is too powerful to be bound by a law unless the 
law destroys him utterly." 

" I fancy Neil thought this a mistake," I said, " for didn't 
238 



The Lone Furrow 

Jean hctitaced, and her /«» h.J ».i.j ~ 

"*en piece there between him and Robert • »),. k_. 
niytteriou. «:tion$ the day we had .^.rrlwi T ' ^ * 
A numbing doud of .h^„^ *"" "^^ •°«'"'"- 

t«ordi„.^ happenin,-what vi. ^ ' ""' '^" **» "- 
th.-. .r** "'""'' '''' •^•^ "'"■"«= " P"*"!* God ha. riven ™. 

wtm^ttti^rs:^;-^^^^ 
.-"^si'b^-Si:-:-^'''-^^ 




«39 




CHAPTER XVI 




j ISS HARKJETT had been under Doctor Wes- 
ton's care during these days. She had im- 
proved—quieted down after the first attj>ck 
of riotous nerves. We had been lulled into a 
false sense of security as was proven, for one 
day Doctor Weston came hurriedly for the Memsahib, and 
m a little she returned, saying: "John, I wish you would 
go for Mrs. Paisly and bring her to see Teacher." 

Memsahib's expression of misery made useless the ques- 
tion that I asked: " What's wrong— has Teacher had a re- 
lapse?" 

We were standing in the hallway, and she, putting her 
arms about my neck buried her face in my shoulder, sobbing: 
" She is going to die. O Godl will the bitterness ever pass, 
will tb- time of trial ever cease? We arc 'ike a scourge-swept 
city, a place visited by divine wrath, f he sweetest little 
woman that ever breathed, that has given her whole Ufe for 
the good of others, and now she is cut off with never a season 
of rest" 

j' Why bring Mrs. Paisly, girl— what can she do? " 
" She can make happy Teacher's last moments if she 
wishes. What a pure little life it has been ; nothing troubling 
240 



The Lone Furrow 



Bree^tion because of the organ. If Teacher can recondleX 
old lady to the church here .he'U die happy." 

deed L ,^""L*,' u^ ^""'•"•" ^ '"'^""^- " «"d ^h-^'ll in- 

The old lady lived at Paisly's Corners, two miles beyond 
the village, so I dn,ve to her abode. ^ 

A desolate quietude shrouded the Corners; a forest an ex- 

^l^ r' "r r ^''' •""""'-■" -^ -^ "have 
S^„ *"^ ^ ^1 ^"'''^'* ^™'"- A small stone black! 
smith shop, = ngidly uncompromising as a rock threw . 
sh«low on the cross-roads from its roof On the'piJtT^; 
ne, two frame buildings, the unpainted boards S X 

£^ tW ? T ?'*;^*^ ^e"^'*" *ff°« °f the inhabi- 

rJ? Jr"!,"?"''''.^™"' *" grander isolation of farS^ 
life and ostracized from the village community. 

In the bkcksmith shop a hammer tinkled on an anvil like 
a monk's bell; and from the solitan^ chimney on o'of 1 
n«ijal tinted dwe lings a tmy streamer of sike filter^ u7 
ward a. .f the spirit of the fire sought a wider existence. 

" SJ"^ T/° l^'' ^' '"'* ^^"^"^ "Pon « door. 
„ Good day, Mrs. Paisly," I said, when it was opened. 

weel °^f''r'"''°"'.°«=»°'Cameron-Ihopeyou'rever. 

t Sde^ • t.^"^"^^ " ^''"' ^'* »>" «P«». she drew 
.t b«.de a square box-stove for me. This was force of habit 

of i^d J^iiJ."' '"^ ^°'* ^ «'"^---' "-^ ' bit 
241 



The Lone Furrow 



" I'm sorry if I frightened you," I said. 
" You did, and you didna', Doctor. We dinna ha'e many 
callers, and I was fearin' Janet's David had come by an ac- 
cident. Yon's his hoose,"— her thumb shot over her shoulder. 
" He wouldna' come in workin' 'oors gang there was nae- 
thing wrong," she explained, " though we often foregather 
for a bit sodable converse o' an evening." 

" You haven't many visitors, then, Mrs. Paisly ? " 
" Weel, we ha'e an' dinna ha'e. No vera desirable ones, 
as a rule. Come Friday it'll be a week, a ligjitnin'-rod ped- 
dler just swooped doon on the Comers wi' his ungodly tricks; 
a bit iron he was for stickin' up tae avert the hand o' the Al- 
mi^ty. Says I tae him: ' You're thinkin' tae cope wi' the 
Lord, man— tak' care ye dinna be struck doon yersel' for 
your blasphemous thoughts.' I'll tell ye what it is. Doctor 
Cameron," the old lady continued, swinging restlessly back 
and forth in her big wooden rocker, " the farmers an' folk like 
oorsel's in the villages are just prey for city sharks." 

" That's why you jumped when I knocked at the door, 
was it, Mrs. Paisly? " 

"Aye; but ye ken, Doctor, I hadna time to tok' a peep 
through the glass; an' the first I kenned o' your comin' was 
the bang at the door. I was puttin' doon plums for a bit 
kitchen to the bread — it saves mony a poond o' butter, does 
the jam." 

" They look very sweet and appetizing," I complimented, 
nodding to a row of jars that stood on her kitchen table. 

" An' like mony a comely lass's face— their loob just a' 
I'e— just standin' monuments tae the deceit o' peddltn." 
Her accent on the peddlers was a treat in its acrid in- 
tensity. 

242 



The Lone Furrow 



To humor the garrulous body I said, " How's that, Mrs. 
Paisly?" 

I was impatient with my mission, but I knew her well. 

There was the peace of a dying woman at stake a ruf- 
fling haste would surely breed a spirit of obsf.nacy. I was 
drawing her into my depth, that my request might be hon- 
ored. 

" It was this way, Doctor. It's gone eight years syne my 
husband was gored be a bull. He was a gran' man, was John 
Paisly— the same name as yoursel', Doctor— there's a stability 
aboot the name John, I'm pleased wi' the profound roll o' it; 
Archie or Sandy are too lightsome tae my mind. Weel, John 
d'e'd o' the bull's attack. We were back on the farm yon 
time, an' I got that miserable wi' lonesomeness that I could 
dae naething but mope; I was failin'. An' David— John's 
brother, him that haes the smithy yjnder — advised me tae 
sell the farm an' live here at the Comers where it's sae cheer- 
ful. I picked up at once. I couldna' ha'e stood it anither 
year yonder." 

"You find it brighter here?" I asked, thinking of the 
wonderful potentiality that comparative conditions held, and 
trying to picture the greater desolation that she had fled from. 
" Aye, I'm vera satisfied wi' the Comers. Throu^ the 
open window I can hear the bang o* David's hammer smiting 
the iron; an' I take strange humors aboot it. Sometimes I 
liken it tae the clang o' Moses' rod on the rock when the 
waters gushed oot. In the winter mony a time I'll peek 
through the glass thinkin' it's sleigh bells I'm hearin'. But 
the gp-ii* company is bein' sae near the railway track— it's 
just yonder halfway o' the field; an' the freight trains are 
PMwi' three or four times a day. The engine has tae blaw 
443 



The Lone Furrow 



the whistle at the crossing yonder, an' it's the cheerfullest 
soond imaeinable. I maun say I dinna like their blawing on 
the Sabbath — it's a pity they canna dae enough wark on six 
days wi'out desecrating the Lord's ane." 

I sat patiently, casting furtive, even strong glances at the 
plum jars, hoping to draw the garrulous body's mind to the 
question at issue, for the iniquity of the plums settled, I meant 
to state my errand. 

A sizzling on the kitchen stove, a pungent odor of burned 
sugar, luckily cut into Mrs. Tfisly's reminiscences and she 
darted with surprising agility to the salvage of her boiling 
over fruit. 

" It's just that, Doctor," she resumed on her return, " the 
ruination quantity o' sugar them plums tak'. As I was sayin' 
when the kettle interrupted me, I was na sooner here at the 
Cc .Tiers, the acre o' land no' fenced yet, when a fruit tree ped- 
dler happens along; they're like vultures wi' their swoopin' 
doon on hones' folk. He haes a buik wi' glamourous pictures 
o' plums the size o' peaches, an' peaches the size o' King o' 
Thompkins apples, an' apples as big as melons. I had my 
doots o' all that, but he just talked me roond an' I paid a fear- 
fu' price for six plum trees. Man alive! I signed for trees, 
but when they came they were whiffet spindle-shank things 
like gooseberry bushes; an' they grew that slow I was tired o' 
waitin' for them. An' dien the plums! Look for yoursel'. 
Doctor. 

Mrs. Paisly brought from a basket for my inspection a 
handful of green and purple plums the size of hickory nuts. 
" That's why I ca' them a standin' I'e," she said. " But 
yon godless peddler will get his deserts when he goes where 
there are na plums." 



a44 



The Lone Furrow 



" I suppose he disappeared — he never came back to ask 
how your plums were doing, did he, Mrs. Paisly? " 

My question brought forth the most extraordinary, ir- 
relevant answer— I suppose it was the idea of the disappear- 
ing peddler that switched her active mind. She simply writhed 
in the big chair at the past entire subversion of her innate 
curiosity, ejaculating: "Saints above! Doctor, I'm daft- 
just daft, not to be asking after Jeanie Craig's man. Is there 
ony word o' Minister Munio this week? " 
" None," I answered. 

"Dreadful! the puir body! In a temporal sense I'm 
meaning, Doctor, for I canna bring mysel' to a harmonious 
sympathy wi' the spiritual goings on that's come tae the Kirk 
in lona. They're going tae build it up again, ye were 
saying." 

I hadn't said so, but she continued : " Perhaps they'll no' 
be lae keen aboot trifling wi' the solemnities noo." 

She looked at me so searchingly that I was driven to ask: 
" How are you meaning, Mrs. Paisly? " 

" Just that by the time the kirk's finished they'll no' feel 
like frittering awa' money for an organ. I dinna say it is, 
mind ye. Doctor, for I'm no' ane tae interpret the mysterious 
way o' the Lord, but the destruction o' that godless instru- 
ment is like a visitation." 

I seized upon the opening and thrust forward what was 
in my mind. " Whatever they decide upon," I said, " the 
saddest part of it will be that Miss Harkett will not be there 
as organist" 

" Little Teacher? Goodness, Doctor, that was the ane 
prick tae ma conscience that yon sweet little Christian was 
troubled o'er the stand I took. Would ye believe it, Doctor, 
a45 



The Lone Furrow 



she's walked a* the way oot here tae the Corners tae win me 
o'er. Man, I just had tae steel my heart tae what I consid- 
ered my duty tae God. Tears would come frae the body's 
e'es; an' her pleading— aye, she is a Christian, though I 
couldna' understand her infatuation for the drooning, snor- 
ing pipes. Is Teacher going awa', Doctor? " 

" I'm afraid she's going on a very long journey, Mrs. 
Paisly— she's dying! " 

"D'eingI little Teacher d'eing?" 
Mrs. Paisly rose and p^red the floor. I sat silent, wonder- 
ing what was passing in her mind. She seemed to have for- 
gotten my presence. She opened a little cabinet nailed to the 
wall, and took out a knitted shawl. 

"D'ye see that, Doctor? Teacher worked that wi' her 
own hands an' gi' it me last Christmas, making me promise to 
wear it when I was driving tae service at Stonehill. An' noo 
she's d'eing. Puir body, I must awa' in Ue see her. Can 
I see her, Doctor— just tae kiss her good-by, for I'll be hop- 
ing tae meet her in heaven, for she's ane o' the Chosen." 

"I came out for you, Mrs. Paisly," I said simply. 
" Teacher is asking for you, and you can comfort her last mo- 
ments. Can you come back with me now?" 

" Indeed I can. The plums are that soor they'd no' take 
hurt if they soaked i' sugar for a month. I'll just ask Janet 
tae keep an eye tae their stewing. I'll be wi' you in a jiffy. 
Janet'U fair greet when she kens Teacher's sac poorly. 
Dearie me, dearie me! Poor little Teacher! " 

Lamenting, Mrs. Paisly slipped to summon her relative, 
and as they were back, Janet thrusting the door open sud- 
denly, I saw over her shoulder a handkerchief furtively ob- 
literating tears. 

246 



The Lone Furrow 



Soon we were on the way to lona, I striving for an open- 
ing to prepare the way for Mrs. Paisly's reconciliation to the 
organ. But what was I to do in such a delicate mission-a 
man bungler? Perhaps my patience in listening to the tale 
4^"^^ "'T "^""^ ^ something in a preparatory way. 
1 he Memsahib came out as I drove to the gate of little 
Teacher s home. She stood for a second with her hand in the 
old lady s, saying: " You had better send the horse away till 
you are needing him again, John. I'll bring Mrs. Paisly to 
tne Hedge for tea, then you can drive her back." 

What would be the result of the Scotchwoman's visit, I 
quertioned over and over, waiting at home for the Mem- 
sahib s coming. Would that wondrous, indefinable, evanes- 
cent, enduring, ethereal, ever-recurrent dement, love, subdue 
the fanatical obduracy of the Calvinistic Mrs. Paisly, where 
argument and exhortation and the influence of the whole 
church set had failed? It would be a curious study in theo- 
Wychology. It would be something like Christ pitting His 
doctrine of love and gentleness against the harsh tenets of the 
Jew^ Would gentle, dying Teacher transmit something of 
the broader reUgious spirit to the woman bred within the nar- 
row environment of uncompromising spiritual austerity? 
And Mrs. Paisly had declared that she would never counte- 
i»nce the desecration of God's tabernacle by what she firmly 
believed was an innovation of the Devil. 

And also weU I knew that he who hoped to convince a 
boot against his wiU had a task such as Mahomet undertook 
whm he summoned the mountain; such as King Canute es- 
My«rf when he bade the tide stay its advance. 
Most certainly Teacher would fail. 
Then I thought of Christ stiUing the angiy waters. In- 
247 



The Lone Furrow 



deed there was a greater power than Mahomet's or Canute's. 
Perhaps through Teacher Christ's love-power would prevafl. 
I saw the Memsahib and Mn. Paisly coming up the walk. 
Something in the Scotchwoman's appearance suggested a 
softening of harsh lines; her angular face was gentler in ex- 
pression, as though she had passed throu^ a dozen years of 
refining influence; her steel-gray eyes radiated the questioning 
light of one who walks falteringly Uke a child, as if new 
worlds had opened up to her in mysterious beatitude. 

I held the gate for them to enter, and Memsahib said 
softly: " Teacher is resting so happily." 
" Is there any hope? " I asked. 

" No; and it just seems as though it would be a sin to 
ask for anything but just what is. I never saw a person in the 
full joy of life and hope so perfectly happy, so contented! 
Its the saddest, most beautiful thing in all the world. 
Teacher's faith and resignation." 

" Aye," Mrs. Paisly added. I started at the change in the 
Scotchwoman's voice; even the single expression " aye " car- 
ried the most wonderful note of softening. 

" Teacher is just drifting intil the arms o' God," she con- 
tinued, as I drew a chair for her. " It would be a bbick heart 
that could beat beside yon couch and keep Ue harshness or 
evil thought." 

" Mrs. Paisly has removed the last worry from Teacher's 
mind," the Memsahib said. 

"And I thank God I had a chance tae do it," Mrs. 
Paisly added solemnly; "and I feel a load oflF my ain heart 
because o' it. I believe in conserving tha principles o' re- 
ligion, but when Teacher spoke wi' me, something o' the 
speerit o' Christ seemed tae look frae her e'e, and hang on her 
a48 



The Lone Furrow 



word^ And when I gave up I fd, , gr«,t .weetn«. o' relief 
w.™.ng .boot n,y heart. If, naethin, t« dee iL ^n 
Chr.,t.«,; she n,,un «y: • O death where « thy .ting? O 
grave where i$ thy victory ? "' ' 

"We'll have a cup of tea Mr,. P«dy," Mem«d,ib .ug- 
KWted — you look tired." 

«ldll!^'' ^ " *'"''* '"'" *"""' whenever you're ready." I 
till thrini ^ ^"°":».P«™ission I'd like tae bide here 
iight'' ' """^ ^"^"'" "*»' '«* "■» ""d- 

herl^'Vl^"^.'!' Scotchwom«,', withered f«* within 
her hand, and kissed her tenderly, saying: " I'm glad you're 
S Z r"-'^««='>- -eht forget, and ask for y^^ 
'!!Vt?.^ '"'"'■ """"8 '""' •«" J"" « vision." 

I d lie tae see Mrs. Munro-Jeanie Craig, as she al- 

Zi^h r** • ""^^^-P^hap, I've been a bit set in my way 
through dinging tae the old style o' things." 

«p wi!h rIJ?.'" '^ '"^•" ""^"^ — " = " *«•» 

n«'l^'"'' Si'' u ^ •e"'"-!'"' J««t selfish, indifferent. 

r^l,¥ ^"'^ ^*' ^"" »"•' "^"«f *ft" anither-trouble 
« togither for eveiybody." 

Memsahib brought Jean to the lawn, and as I wandered 

mwtal atm^phere. I could «« the Scotdiwoman who had 
to^d mc at Paisly s Come« that she did not approve of the 
»^P on m the kirk since Munn. came. lavishing upon Jean 
fl^P-thy. and encouragement to ,twd strong in the hour of 
17 249 



The Lone Furrow 



her trial. She ww calling her " Jeanie," and holding her 
hand, and bnwhing little fleck* of dutt from her tkirt with a 
handkerchief, and mothering her. 

In my restles* orbit, passing, I heard snatches of advice. 
" The Lord will put it a' right." And she wanted to know 
what were sparrows that fell and were seen of Hi* eye, com- 
pared with a conscientiou* servant like Minister Neil. The 
shrewd Celtic eye of Mrs. Paisly, a grandmother herself, had 
discerned something. The Scotch voice wu attuned to a 
bafliing of the masculine ear, but notwithstanding this, at 
time* intensified to clearness by this wondrous bond of sym- 
pathy between women, of motherhood, words leaped such dis- 
tances as I could place between us. Once it was, " Jeanie, 
you'll be a happy woman then. Dearie, I remember when 

Aleck was bom " 

I shut the study window— things of the lawn were sacred. 
I sat staring vacantly at a shelf of metaphysical volumes, won- 
dering if there was anything within their leather covers that 
could teach me the true guiding spirit of this wonderful Cel- 
tic temperament, fierce as a Ghaei in religion, gentle and 
sweet a* a dove in human feeling — all embodied m exceltit 
in Mr*. Paisly of Paisly's Comers. 

We stood meekly face to face with the nearest manifetu- 
tion* of God's omnipotence— dissolution and evolution and 
creation thrust themselves— as new worlds bursting forth had 
appeared to Agamemnon on the walls of Troy— like illumi- 
nating surs across the dark sky, heralded, claimed of appear- 
ance by the tongue of the Scotchwoman, as she talked in 
solemn fervor of Teacher's approaching death and Jean's 
baby that was to be. 

I heard the Memsahib say to Mr*. Paisly that she had 
250 



The Lone Furrow 



m.de the te. «ronK. Perhm» i, wM_wh.t did i, «.,„,. 
before n,.d„,gh, «,m«hi„g exquisite, ^mething 010^,^X0 
to Chrut'. .pirit would h.ve pM«d from u,. '^''' ■"" 

Jn mJp '^r'i "i''""'^'" "■'"" '^•«''*'' h" finwr. lying 
in Mi.. Paisly', hwd, just bre,thed her spirit .way from " 

wh^r^d K.ftly to her. " Ruth-Ruth. de.r-it is I. aE" 
In the morning I drove Mrs. Paisly back to the Corner, 

_i?r ?* T^ '" "^"^ "^ '^••^•'"> •»" " «« too much 
-.he broke down. We traveled hrif a mile before she 
trusted her vo.ce ,0 say: " I maun grip mysel'-Myl but I'm 
« uuughlin' old body 1 " / ' wui 1 ra 

rt.J]? •»•'"'-"•««<> twin cottages of Paisly's Comers threw 
themselve. across our vision at a turn i„ the road, and their 

z^zr "" "''^''^ '"""'"■''"' '■" ""^^ "■•-!- 

"I'm wonderin- how J«,et got on wi' the plums," she 
found vo.ce to say. " Hooever. she couldna spoil thritley 
were that ^r I told her to just souce them wi' «.^S 
no^m- much. Do you ken. Doctor, I've a queer sS JiJ 

hvpmess; .t doesna matter aboot the plums or onything- 
n«thmg matter, much. I'm recondled tae my ain KiA «d' 

1 ve seen a guid Christian d'e. glad tae be wi' the Lord Se 
Come„ look «« pe«eful and restfuUike tae me this mormJ,! 
I m hop.„g the trouble wUl pass frae Jeanie Craig-I'rS 
ito the Alm.ghty to-night." 



aji 




CHAPTER XVII 




|HE AgniM^c wu t perambuUdng! query; his 
existence one long question — ^" Why?" His 
endeavor restless, persistent delving into the 
adamantine rocks of impenetrability. His very 
appearance resembled the printed query mark; 
large-browed head drooped forward from rounded shoulders; 
attenuated limbs ending in a dot at the bottom of which were 
his feet A desire for knowledge, commendable no doubt, 
might yet turn to the frittering away of time and talent if the 
niche explored was like the old lady's cupboard, bare of even 
a bone of contention. 

I had not seen him for a few days, and thought perhaps he 
had ostracized himself out of consideration for our mental 
unrest 

After I had returned from Paisly's Comets he found me 
sitting alone — at leut in a companionship that was dually 
company and isolation, for Blitz lay on the bench, his head on 
my knee. 

" It's curious," the Major said, " how the most tre- 
mendous throbbings of nature — or, as Schelling would have 
put it. Trinity Godhead — gallop here with a relentless stride 
352 



The Lone Furrow 



hMnmed to the carriage of life beside • donkey of thittle- 
•wwn VKuity." 

"You mean?" I queried. 

" I mean, to begin at omega— the drifting thistledown— 
WHJajr I met Tommy, the lexton of the kirk that was. I've 
been away J„ New York for a couol. of dav,, and thi» mom- 

?ik^Sr"'"'"'"'^'''^ "°^ '"''••" ^"^ 

.'.' J^VT.^* «^'" ' ^' ■' '• " »v!ut 0-d yuu anrver? " 
I replied that they w.ie abou» .-» ,.,i,,-,l, anJ Tommy re- 
marked: I suppose New York ,. th- same as lona, dull as 
duch^water. Poor crops flatten a tuv n out quicker nor any- 

«I?°T'' **" • '""'"'' Pe"Pe">ve," I observed. 
Thats just it," objected the Major, " he hasn't. New 
York IS the same as the village-. pl«* for transients. Morr 
or less gilding doesn't matter; to ride or to walk doesn't mat 
ter. The same thing that convulses us here at the present 
convulses the man yonder, millionaire or pauper-the happen- 
ing to the body, and the uncertainty of the real journey 
through eternity." 

" I think you're right. Major." 

NeiZ°H*^^' ^••' ""'■• •» ^" « -ny m« can go. 
Neither Hegel, nor Spinow, nor Meister Eckhart could go 
beyond that— just to thint" 

"What of Minister Grey? " I hazarded in banter. 
« „ ."* Agnostic seized upon it with avidity as material. 
Hes as provable as they are, and as unprovable; and out 
ot lus knowledge as inefficacious. But"— and the Major's 
voice grew low out of its own volition-" the little woman 
tnat died last night was a message." 

«53 



The Lone Furrow 



" Of what? " I asked, thinking to trap him. 

But the Agnostic fenced warily, as metaphysically as 
Meister Eckhart might have done. " That's what I'm asking 
myself," he answered. " Was it just a purity of life here, 
comparison inducing adulation, magnetically exacted tribute ? 
I heard about it," he explained ; " and if I. or you, or Min- 
ister Grey, had gone to that Scotch warrior of conviction, 
Mrs. Paisly, and asked her in the name of the Lord to yield, 
what would have happened ? " 

" But God chose the fitting instrument," I objected. 

" But He had the ordained one — the minister, called for 
that purpose. It is difficult to determine just what is chance 
and what is of arrangement; or is there anything predestined 
to happen except the two things, evolution and dissolution — 
even these seem purely matters of chance, not even separate 
elements, just changes, varying phases of the one great essence, 
a noisy ripple in the matrix of quiet." 

" There's nothing of chance work in God . cheme of crea- 
tion," I answered. " Look at the Pleiades. Come back a 
thousand years from now, Major, and you will find them 
gradually circling with majestic sureness across the sky from 
east to west, and you can tell the day, the hour by the truth 
of their position." 

"That's your short vision, Doctor," he contended. 
" Within them there are changes occurring — the happenings 
of chance. And if we're to believe Genesis they were not al- 
ways as they are. But perhaps you can answer this question 
that troubles me not a little. There are the maple trees — 
they're all alike, aren't they? " 

" Yes," I answered. 

"Only superficially. Among all the maple leaves on 



The Lone Furrow 



earth there are not two exactly alike, neither are there two 
trees alike. Sheep aU look the same, but close observation dis- 
covers a di£Eerence; a fanner can come to know each indi- 
vidual sheep of his flock by its face. No two humans are 
exact counterparts. Even your twins— the mother can dis- 
tinguish between them." 

" That's the infinity of God's creative power," I asserted. 

"Is it? Then man is infinite; for a carpenter could no 
more saw two boards the same length than he could create 
two hiUs without a valley between. I'll admit I've troubled 
over this question. Is it the wondrous infinity of a Godhead, 
or inability for perfection? Man was created in a certain 
image— some of them are a hideous reflection on the Model— 
and yet never one attains to the same form as ths other." 

" I don't know— I can't answer," I said. 

" Neither can I, nor could Spinoza, nor Minister Grev " 

"Why trouble? "I asked. 

"A seeking for knowledge is commendable," thi Major 
answered. " Galileo and Newton gave us a rich heriuge be- 
cause they were not content with not knowing." 

" Yes, because Galileo was wise enough to stop at the 
outer limit; the stars were a border line between knowledge 
possible and impossible." 

" But what's beyond the star»— nothing? " 

" Teacher knows," I answered—" she always knew ; just 
because she leaned on something greater than human knowl- 
edge." 

" It was very beautiful and very good," the Major said 

sincerely. "A gentle sweet type of thistledown. There's 

another, a rougher texture, Sweeny with his ax-handle cure 

for physical ills. The M. D.'s, and the nostrum»-I think 

455 



The Lone Furrow 



he tried everything in that line— failed to pluck the shadow- 
throwing string of delusion from his cap, but the ax-handle 
cured him ; that and a diet of fried pork. What was that, 
Doctor?" 

" Nature," I answered. 

" Yes, a grand curative for mind or body. But I must 
travel. Doctor, for nature tells me I am hungry; and human 
rule has so arranged it that if I don t eat now at twelve 
o'clock, I must go hungry till six. Think over what I have 
said." 

" Heavens! " I mentally ejaculated. " Think over what 
he has said — it is trying enough to listen patiently! " And, 
besides, here were the real torturing thoughts of everyday 
trouble, driving from my mind everything else, as the mar- 
tins in spring drove the sparrows from their nests in the iron 
coping of the comer store's roof. 

It was always this way when I was alone now, a tumultu- 
ous tableau ; Minister Munro a blank ; Teacher dead ; Jean in 
a desert of misery; Robert, his body broken, at best a helpless 
cripple for life — a heavy price for the regeneration of his 
soul. Something in that thought staggered the idea of consid- 
ering his redemption from drink as a touch of silver lining. 
The study in the Manse, the unholy odor of drug, his qiurrel 
with Neil, the disappearance of the jade-handled dagger — 
these remembrances perched like birds of evil omen on the 
walls of the regeneration edifice, and I fell to wondering why 
Robert had not cleared up the mystery when it was thought 
he might die. It must be a dark something when he had not 
spoken then. 

Bain had arranged for Doctor MacLean to come from 
York for the last service over little Teacher. 
256 



The Lone Furrow 



It will be just in keeping with her gentle, Christian life 
for Doctor MacLean to word what her loss means to us, and 
draw our attention to the reward religion holds for such." he 
laid. 

The morning of the funeral the Memsahib said to me- 
" It seems cruel that Teacher could not be buried from 
the church she loved so well; she spoke of it toward the 
last." 

" It doesn't matter much," I answered ; " the real beauti- 
ful part, Teacher herself, has gone." 

At two o'clock shutters hid the windows of the stores; the 
hammer that had rung upon an iron anvil was leaned against 
the forge; the smith stripped the leather apron from his waist, 
and in his home donned his Sunday suit of black. The village 
rested from toil and from barter and from play. The school- 
room, deserted, held only silent, solemn benches. The 
wooden sidewalk echoed to the sedate tread of men and 
women and children that marched, scarce speaking, to a little 
brick cottage that had for many years known the quick, nerv- 
ous patter of Teacher's feet. 

Within an acacia hedge the villagers waited. 
Presently, actuated by transmitted impulse, they thronged 
into the cottage, pushing gently, silently, like sand drifting 
before a wave, until men stood shoulder to shoulder, a solid 
mass of human sympathy. 

Doctor MacLean spoke gently of the loss that had 
brought all these friends of the dead woman together, asking 
the listeners not to make useless the glorious endeavor of the 
Christian life that had been so long with them an embodied 
call from God for better living. Then he offered up an ear- 
nest, pathetic prayer. When the gentle-faced minister rose 
257 



The Lone Furrow 



«nd, like an inspired poet of divinity, chote as a text for the 
Church's last tribute, reading from his Bible: 

« < But Debonh, Rebecca's mine, died, and the wi* buried be- 
neath Bethel, under an oak, and the name of it was called Allon- 
bacbuth.' " 



I saw the Memsahib's eyes swim in tears, and all about 
me were white signals of unrestrainable sympathy and human 
feeling. 

" Allon-bachuth means, the Oak of Weeping," Doctor 
MacLean said, in his poet's voice, " and to-day we lay to rest 
our loved sister under the oak of our weeping hearts. Like 
Deborah, she was a nurse for the afflicted in spirit. All 
her life she nursed the weak in heart and the stricken in 
mind." 

Mercifully Bain caught the Memsahib in his arms, and 
making a pretense that she walked, literally carried her out 
to the little lawn bordered by the acacias. 

" I'm such a coward," the Memsahib sobbed. 

" No, it's the brave quality of human sympathy," Bain 
objected. " It was just more than I could stand myself. You 
saved me from making a weak display." 

When Doctor MacLean had ceased his tribute, the vil- 
lagers passed in a long line to take a last look at the cold pale 
face, still sweet in death, that they had each loved — man, 
woman, and child. 

Then from the little cottage that was like a great vase 
with its holding of white flowers, the long procession of car- 
riages and farm wagons passed to the village cemetery in 
its grove of pines. Through their harp boughs the wind car- 
258 



The Lone Furrow 



ried « plaintive dirge to blend with the minister's soft voice 
u he read: 

" • Uke u I father pitieth hi. chUdren, to the Lord pitieth them 
thit few him. 

" • For he knoweth our frtme ; he remembereth thit we ire duM. 
" ' A. for mui hit d»y, ue u gnu ; u t flower of the field to he 
nouriiheth. 

" ' For the wind puwth over it, tnd it U gone ; ind the place 
thereof ihall know it no more. 

" • Behold I show you ■ my.tery ; we ihall not all Jeep, but we 
•hall all be changed. 

" • But thanb be to God which giveth u. the victory through our 
Lord Jetui Christ.' " '6 

As some beautiful dream is shattered to waking pain by 
the fall of a book, so I almost cried out in anguish, waked into 
dreary realism by the dull thud of gravel echoing on the coffin 
from the bottom of the grave. Indeed it was the last terri- 
ble rite of inexorable reality. 




259 




CHAPTER XVIII 




|ICK SWEENY was not a man to remain 
silent ovenwhat he had seen the night of the 
church fire. He repeated what he had told 
me of MacKillop's treacherous act, Donald 
Campbell, who had been holding the nozzle 
with Sweeny, confirmed the latter's story. But a careful 
canvas* of the situation made it evident that the crime of 
attempted murder could not be proven against MacKillop in 
a court of justice. He could easily claim that he was fighting 
the fire back from Bain, and that the high pressure in the 
hose had caused the nozzle to swerve. 

There was a tacit understanding that MacKillop would 
have to leave lona. I saw the full extent of this one day 
when I chanced into the Plowshare tavern. I had gone there 
in quest of a man to spade the Memsahib's garden. 

As I passed from the hall into a general lounging room 
that was next the bar, a falsetto voice, familiar, perhaps half 
an octtve higher through environing inspiration, fell upon 
my ear. It was Sweeny's, and he was saying: " Well, b'ys, 
here's to the fire brigade, and the waterworks— thou^ I'm 
not for much water in mine, I'll leave that fixin' to the land- 
lord." 

260 



The Lone Furrow 



I knew as well as though I had 



' as wcii «, inougn 1 naa seen it that the spmrnci 
winked diabolically down the avenue of grinning faces, that 
lined the bar. 

" Here's to the fire brigade! " Sweeny continued; " and 
to the sandiest man in lona, barrin' none, Malcolm Bain." 

" By God ! you're right there, Dick," some one in the line 
answered. " I've seen game men in my tin:e— I see a chap 
get the V. C. in Africa last year for tdun' a less chance than 
Bain took." 

I heard the front door open and close, and turning my 
head saw MacKillop. 

He entered the outer room, scanning its occupants fur- 
tively; his face, always vicious in its sneering uncertainty, 
now carried lines that were not alone of weariness or 
physical toil. I felt that he was an outcast wary of his fel- 
lows, and yet a cry in his heart for even casual companionship. 

He took a hesitating step that carried him to where two 
men sat. 

"How are you, Andy?" he greeted, holding out bis 
hand; "how d'ye like farmin' out in Manitoba— have you 
just come back for a visit to the old place? " 

I watched curiously for the result of this experiment. The 
mm he addressed rose, and took the proffered hand, saying: 
" I'm not so bad— How's tricks with yourself, Archie? 
Manitoba's all right— I just got home last night." 

"^ Will you take something, Andy? " MacKillop queried. 

" I don't mind," the man replied. 

Just as they reached the barroom door Sweeny's voice 
came shrilly, saying: " And, b'ys, here's eternal damnation to 
a treacherous murderer that hangin's too good fer." 

MacKiUop's face darkened; he hesitated for an instant, 
261 



The Lone Furrow 



then entered the room tnd walked up to the b«r. The man 
next him put down his glan with half the liquor in it and 
drew away. 

pweeny, standing with his back to MacKillop, said: 
" B'ys, I'm agin lynch law, but there's times when it's a 
damn good thing." 

He turned quic'.!, at the sound of MacKillop's voice, 
who was saying Ui Me bartender: " Here, Charlie, give us 
a drink." 

The file of men faced about, and seeing the speaker, 
moved away. The bartedder turned and busied himself dust- 
ing some bottles. 

" Charlie/ I want a drinkl " MacKiUop repeated. 
The man at the bottles dusted in silence. 
MacKillop picked up a glass and struck the oaken barrier 
•harply. Charlie faced about, a frown drawing his heavy 
black eyebrows together in a sullen look of defiance. 

" You must be deaf," declared MacKillop. " Give u* a 
dtiiik—J'fou hemrl" 

" Yes — I hear; but I won't serve you." 
I saw Andy's lean, toil-conditioned head go up in com- 
bative ngklity. His grizzled red beard bristled in anger 
as he said: " Look here— damn your cheek I— am I an Injun 
that I'm refused a drink?" 

There was no sound save the voices of this little group; 
the others stood in listemng attitude, glorying in the stand 
Barkeeper Charlie had taken. 

" I'm sorry, Mr. Black," the latter said ; " you can have 
anything that's in the house — what'll you drink? " 

" I'm drinkin' with Archie MacKillop," Black answered j 
"an' if he drinks, I drink; an' if he don't, I don't" 
262 



The Lone Furrow 



I .|d«ired the .pe^er'. loylty. „d knew th.t. h.vi„g 
bw, .w.y. he w„ prol«bly unaware of the feeling, even of 
the nupicion againit his companion. 

•'If you don't «rve me." declared MacKiUop. 'Til 

for^!'' ^ ""■" " *""• "'''^"'" ■"•" •™^"«'> «W"8 
^M.n refused , drink in this bar." M«:Killop «iid an- 

dbdZ^Vs'^vor "'"' •*""■" ''•^''^' -■""<• -■"« 

,h, Hf ' ""'" ''!»'^'°"«« "'^w roused a devil of fury in 

ZSh"";, . ,:* T"r"* '""'' °" Sweeny-S^doubt 
MjcKdlop had heard what the I„shm«, had said of Bain's 

th, ?iT'°" u''"'"''' ^'""- '^' •'"■"k ^' ^"^ «»•»< ■•" for. 
2! Z^ •/ u P«'P™to'-«veTything was eliminated but 
tte pre«nce of the man he blamed a, the author of hi, ostra- 
om- He broke forth in a torrent of abuse. 

I know why you won't give me a drink, you whisky- 
J.ng.n' «.inel If. because of that Papist's ly'in' ton^e. 
He. set out to rum me. I'm an outcast. That long-legged 
J^I^uthed mk:k has been tellin' about that I tried tf do 
|M> B«n. . . Stand back, you fellows, an' give me a show- 
.f you don't, by Helll as sure as God made little apjirrii 
cut your hearts out! " ^ 

"Here, you, be quiet." began MacGregor. 
^^ Look out, Dick! " warned one of the others 
Let h.m come! By hickory. I'm here! " Sweeny an- 
263 



The Lone Furrow 






•wered, tMcking tpdmt the wall, and just miMing m viciout 
blow that the enraged man, darting forward with stooped 
thoulden, aimed at hit ftomach. 

Before Sweeny could twing hit big fiit tomething of elas- 
tic ttrength caught MacKillop, and drew him to the other 
end of the room. This power wu Andy Black's long arm. 
Now he had dexterously shifted his position, and held by the 
chest the man who was half maniac. 

The proprietor, too, had clutched an arm, and was say- 
ing: " You'll keep still, Archie, or I'll call the constable in 
a holy minute; and you'll go down to the county jail for 
this, or my name's not MacGregor." 

When the man of violence was quieted a little, Black 
turned to Sweeny and the others, saying: " Don't make any 
mistake, you fellows, I'm standing at Archie's back." 

" Faith, he'll need it if he comes at me again," declared 
Sweeny. 

"Just hold your horses, Dick," advised Andy; " I'm not 
spoilin' for a fight, but I came in here to drink with Archie, 
an' I'm goin' to see htm through his trouble if he's gettin' the 
worst of it. I just want to know the ins and outs of this. 
It's the first time in my life I was ever refused a drink, an' 
I want to know the reason." 

" You're shovin' your oar in, Black," retorted Sweeny, 
for he was angry; " ! wouldn't poke another man's fire if I 
was you." 

"I'm interested, ain't I?" Black queried crossly. 
"When Andy Black goes back on a chum just because 
there's a dozen against him you'll find pigs in the moon- 
do you understand that, Dick Sweeny ? I want to get at the 
bottom of this." 

a64 



The Lone Furrow 



^ MjcG«gor nudeed the *pnkcr, «.d together they left 

"vl^T"^' BWc returned. «d hang M«:Killop. »id: 
I m not wutin « dnnk now. I'm thinkin' you'll be better 
•w^ from here. m«,. You'd beit go. M«JCillop. I'd tell 
« be if I wid I wu torry for you." 

With . cur« M«JCiUop turned and p^ed out to the 
itrcct. 




18 26s 



••oocorr nsoumoN tbt aun 

(ANSI and ISO TeST CHAIIT No. 7) 




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o^/-; 






CHAPTER XIX 




|HERE had been another consultation over Rob- 
ert Craig — Doctor Colton coming from York 
for it. 

While the boy had grown stronger, there 
was no evidence of improvement in the injured 
part, and Dr. Colton advised that he should be sent to Mon- 
treal where a famous French physician, Dr. Lupin, a spe- 
cialist in hip and spine diseases, was temporarily practicing. 
Both Malcolm and I had volunteered to take Robert to Mon- 
treal, and Jean, half reluctantly, had consented to part with 
her brother. 

The storm of tragic happenings th?t had swirled about 
our heads, leaving so much mental distress in its wake, seemed 
to have passed. Indeed, we were like the remaining inhabi- 
tants of a place devastated by a tornado, in an aftermath of 
apathetic desolation. 

Craig was to be taken to Montreal Monday ; and Sunday 
(evening, sitting alone in my study, the Memsahib having gone 
•:o church, I was trying, by reading, to project my mind, 
esoterically, across seas from a retrospective contemplation of 
the village's unpleasant life problems. I struck fair across my 
domain, not taking any path, by just reaching to a shelf for as 
266 



The Lone Furrow 



many books as would come away in fingers stretched to an 
octave— leaving even the looking for suitability to the eyes in 
the finger tips. I could not well have gotten farther from the 
present provincial environment had I consulted a list, for I 
opened a gray-tinged book that carried on its cover the 
legend: "Croydon, The Teignmouth Public Library." 
Within was a date carrying me back a century; and the pi- 
quant chatter was of a hundred years still deeper in the an- 
nals of the past. A fine flavored, joyous, scintillant atmo<!- 
phere, darting its rays of light through the murk of London 
fogs and chop-house smoke. 

Colley Gibber defending his comedies against the scalpel 
of Pope's vicious dissecting— Gibber as the " Author " de- 
fending his work against Pope personified as Mr. Frankly. 
And again Pope at war with a doughtier knight, Addison, 
smarting under the older man's crushing, insincere patronage, 
painting this word-picture of an enemy-friend: 

" Dunn with faint praise, assent with civil leer ; 
And, without sneering, teach the rest to sneer ; 
Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike ; 
Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike." 

And across the pages of my book of the Groydon Library 
trooped the heavy Warburton, the merry Steele, and the liter- 
ary inountebank. Mallet; the imperious Bolingbroke— dom- 
meering, cursing the memory of Pope over the printing of 
1,500 copies of my lord's "Patriot King," but secretly an- 
gered because Pope had left the editing of his works to War- 
burton instead of His Lordship Bolingbroke. Touches of 
humor, as when Mallet, pompous in his self-sufficiency, com- 
267 



The Lone Furrow 



ing upon an anonymous new thing, " Essay on Man," dis- 
missed it with a contemptuous fling at the author's lack of 
quality and knowledge, only to discover later that it was 
Pope's. And Gibber's epigrammatic verse upon the failure 
of his play, "Caesar in Egypt," declaring in one line: 

<' 'Twu ne'er in Ccnr'i deidny to run." 

And again when King Charles put the merry joke of the 
fishes upon the learned doctors of the Royal Society. 

Wondering why Pope should lay down his pipes to 
twang upon the triangle of discord — plaster a festering leaf 
of his " Dundad " over a wound in the back of some liter- 
ary swashbuckler, when he might have piped to the stars, or 
echoed the travail of world-birth, led to the curious thought 
that these literary gods were very like the men of lona in 
their crisscross state of savagery. 

A knock at the door brushed it all away, I wishing a God- 
speed of relief. 

Rising, I opened the door, and the hall light flickered 
the dark face of MacKillop into relief against the night 
background. I was surprised to see him, of all men, at the 
Hedge. 

" I'd like to speak to you a minute. Doctor Cameron," he 
said, and in an indecision of reluctance and pity I swung the 
door wider as an invitation. He sidled in nervously, and I 
dosed it behind him. 

" I want to see Mrs. Munro, if I can," he said. 

" I'm afraid you can't," I answered with brevity; " she 
is with her brother, and I'm sure she's very tired — perhaps ly- 
ing down." 

268 



The Lone Furrow 



MacKillop twirled the hat he held in hi, hwd depre- 
catrngly ; he was turnin£ something over in his mind. 
I waited. 

" Come in here." I invited, interrupting him, and leading 
the waymto my study, dosing the door behind us. 

«lr^ "Tr"i" T ":""' "» »« Mrs. Munro -bout?" I 
Mked. Under the circumstances this is my business, for 
here we seek to save her trouble-she has had enough." 
^» J ""u* Jl''""'" *««Killop answered; " but I've just 
got to see her. God, man ! is there no such thing as mercy or 
hu««„y? Am I Cain, to be turned from every door? " 

inti! '^A *^J""*^ "^ " ^"'^"' """• » "«" l^yond «vil 
intent. A sudden surmise came to me that he was here in 

the way of atonement; and was I to remain hard-^hould I 
gnnd the nether millstone? 

tn. T ^H?**"..' "■"'•'■ " ' '^^ "^ '° ^' /lunn^it here 
tiil I return. 

I told Jean that MacKillop had come; adding that she 
had better see him. She came down the stairs, and I. 

u f 'w *^' **"'•''• ^«''«' '■" the dining room. I 
couU hear M«:KiUop', voice ple«ling with compelling 
intensity. 

M«KiUop wishes to see Robert I think I shouldn't allow 

1 mbuL" ""^* ^'^ ^ "" ^''^ '"'°'' D^^'oMust for 

Mac ,p', face at once slipped into the distrustful look 

J^LS^^y!^"""- "I -«-"»■■'«• 'o - hi". «J-e." 

369 



The Lone Furrow 



"I can't pennit it," Jean answered decisively; "you 
would only excite him." 

" It's impossible," I confinned. 

" Well, if I can't, I can'r; I'll go up with Doctor Cam- 
eron. I just got to see Bob, and say something; that's on my 
mind. I'd better be dead than wallun' the floor with it night 
after night Thank you, Mrs. Munro." 

"Wait here a minute, please— I'll see if Robert is 
itwake," Jean requested. 

When she had gone MacKillop turned to me, saying: 
" I'm goin' to make a dean breast of the whole thing. I'm in 
hell— this village is a livin* hell— that's what it is. But I 
don't care that " — ^he snapped his fingers — " for the whole 
gang of them; they can do their dirtiest. Nor for Bain — 
curse him I But the poor boy, lyin' upstairs there, he got the 
worst of it — and it was never meant. As Ciod's my judge. 
Dr. Cameron, I didn't know it was Craig that Bain had a 
hold of." 

" Never mind — don't talk about it," I advised. 

" I've got to— I'm driven to it; that's what I'm here for 
to-night. I've been hounded by the men of this hole as. if I 
was Cain. If I was Dives in Hell beggin' for a drink of 
water I wouldn't get it from them. But I can stand that — 
curse theml When I had money some that turns their 
backs now was glad to help me drink it up— and they 
did." 

" Drinking friends are not of much account when the 
pinch comes," I remarked. 

"They'll turn on you like a dog when you're down; 
but it's only Bob that I'm worryin' over. We were chums. 
Doctor, and he was white clean through, if he did drink. 



270 



The Lone Furrow 



Man! do you think I'd want to hurt the lad I never had a 
cross word with in my life? We went to school together, and, 
though I'm ashamed to say it now, we got drunk together a 
hundred times." 

" I hope you'll not go on like this upstairs, MacKillop." 
" I won't— that's why I'm telling you. I've got to put it 
off my mind— I've got to tell some one— it's settin' me fair 
crary; you won't split "—he put his hand on my arm, and 
his eyes, in which dissipation had mapped little rivers of blood 
and yellow ocher, looked at me from under heavy black brows 
like the eyej of a pleading dog; " give me your word, man to 
man, that, save you're asked in court, you'll never mention 
what you hear to-night" 

" I give you my woW— I'm sorry for you, MacKillop," 
I declared. 

" That's the first kind word I've heard for days. I'm 
starvin' for somebody to say ' MacKillop ' as they used to. 
And as God's my judge I never meant it against the boy, 
never. I saw Bain and my eyes just went hot with blood— 
I'd been drinkin'." 

" How did it happen ? " I asked. 
"Me and Maloney was holdin' the hose, playin' the 
water on the floor, when all at once I felt a jci k— Maloney 
slipped. I could a held the nozzle off Bain, but I didn't. 
God forgive me, the chance come, and I took it. But I didn't 
know it was Bob; and Bain, the man I held the grudge 
against, got next to nothin', and the poor boy that I would 
have stood by got the worst of it. I heard that they were 
sendin' him to Montreal Monday, and they're sayin' that he'll 
never come back alive, and I've come to ask him to forgive 
me. He's the only one I care for ; the village can go to hell ! 
271 



The Lone Furrow 



Them that turns their backs on me — half of them, are pray- 
ing hypocrites." 

" You may come up now, please," Jean's voice sounded 
down the stairs. 

" Mind, MacKillop," I abjured, " the boy is all gone to 
pieces in his nerves, and you mustn't get him excited." 

I preceded the penitent. Twice I stopped and looked 
back, not hearing his footfall on the carpeted stair; each time 
he was three steps behind me. A nervous reluctance such as 
makes weak the limbs of a man mounting the scaffold was 
over MacKillop's heai$. 

There was a wan, tired smile of welcome on Robert's 
face as MacKillop hesitated just within the door ; and then, 
at a touch from me on his arm he took the chair Jean had 
placed beside the bed. 

A thin hand stretched toward MacKillop. He took it 
in his own and pressed it to his lips. 

" I'm glad you've come, Archie," the boy said; " I'm glad 
to see you again." 

MacKillop's black, shaggy head was bent down over Rob- 
ert's hand, and in a jerky voice he said : " Bob, I didn't mean 
it— I didn't mean to hurt you. Bob— I didn't know you was 
there— before God, I didn't, Bob. If you'll say you forgive 
me you'll take a load off my mind. I'd rather die to-night 
than live a hundred years thinkin' you held this out against 
me. God in heaven ! it's awful. Bob, to think that I brought 
this to you, and I didn't mean it. 

MacKillop's plea for forgiveness was crude in since- ity, 
just a repetition of the boy's name and confession of the black- 
ness of his treachery. 

" I know, Archie, you wouldn't injure me willingly," 
272 



The Lone Furrow 



Robert said, his voice weak, uttering the words wearily. " I 
forgive you — ^you didn't mean it" 

"I didn't. Bob— I didn't! but I feel as bad as if I'd 
meant it. It ain't fair. Bob; you that never hurt nobody 
smashed up, and me the cause of itl " 

" It was the drink, Archie; that's what did it all. It was 
that Devil that put me to sleep in the church, and made you 
hold the grudge against Bain." 

The boy's head sank back on the pillow wearily, and Mac- 
Killop, holding his hand, sat silent. And the same silence 
was over all the room. 

Presently Robert spoke again : " Archie, this smash isn't 
all bad, for I've conquered the drink-devil that caused it; 
will you do something for me — to make good? " 

" Anything you can aik, Bob." 

" Will you promise to cut out the whisky ? You were a 
good man before it got the upper hand." 

"WUhGotfs help I Willi" 

"You'll try hard, Archie?" 

" / tuilll I'm goin' to make a new start ; I'm goin' away 
to the States. I couldn't leave lona till I'd asked you to for- 
give me. Bob ; I just couldn't go away till I'd seen you." 

" But there's something else before you go, Archie — ^you 
must do it for my sake. You must go to Bain and ask him 
to forgive you." 

MacKillop sat silently pulling at his mustache, his eyes on 
the thin fingers he held in his hand. I could read the fierce 
turmoil that was in his heart. He hated Bain. It was a dif- 
ferent thing from coming to ask forgiveness of the boy whom 
he had unwittingly injured. Besides, how would Bain take 
it; would he not turn upon him in scorn? I knew these 

273 



1^ 

11 



The Lone Furrow 



thoughts were passing through the man's mind. They 
found utterance when he said: "It wouldn't do, Bob; Bain 
wouldn't give in ; he'd only take advantage of what I said and 
have me up." 

"You're wrong, Archie; Bain is too much of a man for 
that. G>roe, Archie, promise." 

The thin fingers pulled gently in the other's strong palm ; 
they drew the reluctance out of MacKillop and he yielded. 

" I owe you more than that, Bob; I'll do it, no matter 
how Bain takes it. I'm glad I came — God bless you, old 
man I You'll be El•ttin^ better in Montreal — they'll cure you 
there. And if I come to any good myself, I'll come back to 
see you." 

He carried the boy's fingers to his lips, then rose with a 
great sigh. 

" Good-by, Archie ; don't forget," Robert said. 

As MacKillop passed Jean, standing by the door, he hesi- 
tated, turning awkwardly, and said : " I thank you, Mrs. 
Munro. I'm sorry for all the trouble and pain I've given 
you without meanin' to. I'm sorry; I'm goin' to stick to my 
promise to Bob." 

Jean held out her hand to MacKillop. He took it hesi- 
tatingly, as a man feeling guilty of some crime might accept 
the sacrament. 

MacKillop had crept in as a fugitive animal; he went 
out more erect, like a man who had escaped a death penalty. 

The confessional! Like a stanch Protestant the confes- 
sional box to me savored of abhorrent mystery, a dangerous 
acquiring of power over humans; but here was confession 
itself a purifying fire, something to lift a depressing load 
from ofi a tired soul ; how a man, taking thought with him- 
274 



The Lone Furrow 



not alone morally, but, 



self, could add to his statur-, 
MacKillop's case, physically. 

I could have sat at the shrine ot the open grate hours with 
this psychological manifestation, but the Memsahib fluttered 
m, casting off, in a wonderfully petulant mood for her, parti- 
cles of the dreary municipal-church atmosphere with the dis- 
carding of her wraps. With the unpinning of her hat it was : 
" I declare it makes one almost fancy that, after all, there is 
something of comfort in the mummery of the Catholic 
Church, and the ritual of the Anglicans." 

"Dear me I" I exclaimed, for I could not have been 
more startled had the ceiling suddenly come down upon me. 
" It's just disheartening I " — one arm out of her jacket— 
" the minister's squeaky voice was just a whine, beating petu- 
lantly against the ba.ren walls of that hall ; »'••' for the choir 
to sing an anthem to a croupy little melodeuii, tortured into 
revolt by a girl without any ear for music, from a dismal 
stage, is just a little too much even for me, and I think I'm 
patient enough." 

" Yes, a church ought to be nic vnd comfortable," I com- 
mented maliciously; " the draughts m that hall are enough to 
give the regular sleepers their death of colds. And as for 
snoring— it's simply out of the question in that resonant 
chamber. What we want nowadays is a good comfortable 
religion." The Memsahib had shed the last of her irritation 
with her rubbers, and now, vanned by the grate fire, was 
ready for combat on the other side. '• It's these tiny horn- 
pricb that stand us convicted of revolt at the first crying of 
the cock," I continued, shoving a hassock beneath her little 
feet 

" Nobody's in revolt," she objected. 
275 



The Lone Furrow 



" Half the conKresation is now, I'll venture," I con- 
tended, " M three paru of it was when Neil Munro sat them 
on the uneasy bench of their own sinfulness. Is it to be won- 
dered, then, that Jean, tried as she has been, is in full seces- 
sion?" 

" Jean is not in rebellion against God ; she is only puzzled 
to a point of questioning; and that generally leads to stronger 
allegiance in the end. No one can honestly, seriously face the 
glorious subject of God's omnipotence and power without 
finally being convince^ that it is the only wis. guiding force 
for humanity. As you say, husband, she has been tried, and 
to a greater extent than either f us know. There is some 
depth to this nrystery more terrible than we imagine, I fear. 
Both she and Robert carry something on their minds that no 
suffering, no desolation of present misery brings them to re- 
veal. But her nature is beautiful, and when it is all past 
we'll know how extraordinarily beautiful it is, and we'll dis- 
cover that she is a real Christian at heart." 

" Even Robert's character is much finer than I thought it 
— I saw beneath the surface to-nighi," I added ; " MacKillop 
has been here — ^he came to ask the boy's forgiveness." 

The Memsahib could only remain silent in her astonish- 
ment, and I related what had occurred. 

" It is just marvelous," she said, " how our life here has 
been drawn out of its simple sweetness into all this tragic liv- 
ing, with its difEcrent phases of crime and devotion ard re- 
pentance. I can almost hear the wings of the Death /jigel 
fluttering about the place where before the rustle of the maple 
leaves in simimer, or the drive of snow against the window 
in winter, was all we heard. I've always maintained that 
no man is beyond human feeling." 
276 



ill 



The Lone Furrow 



" • A» gold muit be tried by (ire, 
So I hetrt muit be tried by p«in.' 

for result,^ Here wa, a man fair prototype of the Fallen 
An^l. «.d to-n.-ght. haunted .y remorse irh.vi.^, .-njj; 
. boy whom he evidently wa, capable of holding r g, d 
or. he come, humbling him«lf in confessional, to c«ve 
org,vene«. No doubt MacKiUop wa. made ««,e bt the 'e 
tr.but.ve justice which the villager, «, ur -aringly ,pph>J 
And we al«. see Robert's character with ...e JL^^i 
burned .way ,n the fire, standing dear and beautiful. Ste a 
hnlthy young tree On the other hand Je«.. of wh;m >ne 
should expect just this condition of mind, is possessed of , ,! 
gerous questionings." i~»=weo or ) ,- 

The Memsahi^ laid her hand on my arm In a gentle em- 
phasis a, she «id earnestly: "Just as MacKillop aJd RoSt 
^ y Itght thrust into their darkened lives. I will Jet 

oi«..m,ply because they are too great for our weak under- 
.tandmg He «,d He alone can brighten Jean's life J^d 
answer her questionings." ' 








CHAPTER XX 




|E had all worried considerably over the going 
of Craig — I could feel a sympathetic wrench 
in my back every time I thought of moving 
the boy. But practical, methodical Bain 
had oiled all the wheels. A stretcher had 
been provided, and strong-armed men to cany Robert to 
the train. The terrible trial the parting would be to Jean 
was lessened by the physical ease with which the removal 
was accomplished. 

We waited in Montreal for Dr. Lupin's diagnosis of 
Robert's case. The doctor sent us away with a slight hope, 
which we enlarged upon for Jean's benefit — trying to assume 
the debonair manner of schoolbojrs home for a holiday. 

Immediately most wonderful letters commenced to arrive 
from Robert's nurse, Eloise. They contained an astounding 
knowledge of the pathology of spine diseases, especially of 
Robert's case. Such roseate pictures of convalescence were 
rendered that I should not have been surprised to have seen 
Robert walk in, fit and well, any day. 

When I spoke of these letters to Bain, remarking upon 
the extraordinary interest Eloise took in the case, giving 
up a considerable portion of her time to this letter writing, 
278 



The Lone Furrow 



he smiled grimly, saying: " Yes, Mam'selle is keeping to her 
bargain honestly enough. I was a little uneasy, for I haven't 
great faith in the French." 
"What bargain?" I asked. 

T 1 2*!""'*"" •"" '''" ^°"*" " "^""^ fo' the derbhip; 
Ileft the money with a friend to give her. I was thinking 
that It would help Jean bear up. It's the fretting over trou- 
ble and pam that is worse than the thing itself. It's diffi- 
cult for a man with much imagination to be brave." 

" But Eloise is rather overdoing it, I'm afraid," I ob- 
jected. "What if a black letter of despair were suddenly 
to come to Jean— the shock would be terrible." 

" I just thought of that when I was arranging this, and 
1 get a more reliable letter myself from Mam'selle. So far 
there s no very great difference in the correspondence, I 
thmk. Perhaps the nurse is running a few minutes ahead 
of time IP. her letters to Jean, but Robert is holding his own. 
Ur, Lwnn has fine hopes." 

'' Does he think Robert will get well and strong again? " 
I thmk not— not strong; he'll be a cripple for life; 
but at that he'll be a better man than as he was-strong of 
hmb but wrecked in mind." 

As Malcolm walked away from me after this conversa- 
tion, 1 was conscious of the magnetic power a beautiful men- 
tality has over a person brought within its sphere of influ- 
ence, even changing one's perspective of the physical taber- 
nacle of that mentality. 

Once I had thought Bain awkward in his movements, 
ot too strong a physical contour; now I saw a tigerish cer- 
tainty^ of tread in his walk -shorter in his stride than a 
loose-jomted unmuscular man of his height; hU great weight 
279 



The Lone Furrow 



5^ 



seemed to carry rather on his toes than on his heel, as a prize- 
fighter walks; his head, outlined against the yellow evening 
sky, was statuesque. A woman, sitting where I was, and in 
love with this gentle gladiator, could have pictured him as a 
Scandinavian hero-god, Odin perhaps. Here was that sim- 
ple, generous thought of his about the letters. And, going 
down in the train, Robert had confided to me that Mac- 
Killop had kept his promise and gone to Bain, and Mal- 
colm had not only forgiven, but had given him money to go 
away with for a fresh start in life. 

These da^s the village was like a boat lying in the trough 
of the sea, floundering sullenly as though almost water- 
logged; the only movement of the waters a long ground 
swell, the sluggish aftermath of the storm that had passed. 

By a process of elimination, a certain quietude of com- 
ment had supervened; the busy clatter of envious tongues 
had almost stilled. MacKillop had gone, Robert was away, 
and Minister Munro was as if he had ceased to exist. Jean 
was scarcely seen of the villagers now. 

They were the audience to offer a little of approval and 
a great deal of condemnation, but the stage was almost de- 
void of actors, and so they turned to material things at hand. 

In truth the church people now wrangled among them- 
selves over a tangible something, a something that every- 
body understood thoroughly, from MacKay down to the 
printer's devil on the village paprr. This something was 
the rebuilding of the kirk. There were workmen, carpen- 
ters, masons, painters at work, but they were there to be 
advised, to be corrected, to be found fault writh. The vil- 
lagers hurried from their daily toil to their homes in the 
evening, released by the clanging town bell, bolted their 
280 



The Lone Furrow 



suppers, and dashed back to the grassed lawn about the kirk 
to explain to each other just where the work of reconstruc- 
tion was faulty. It was chiefly matters of detail that pro- 
duc the fiercest wrangles. The color scheme for the in- 
teno entirely foreign to everyone's conception, naturally 
evoked the deepest interest. In a way each member of the 
congregation, knowing his neighbor's weakness in thb a£Eair 
of art, felt safe in taking a strong position on the subject. 

The painter himself was entirely ignored. It was thought 
that years of brushing at secular edifices, such as bams, 
fences, and cottages, must have entirely eliminated his artis- 
tic perceptions. Figuratively he was brushed to one side. 
For a week the citizens dabbled in color— running the whole 
^ut of pigments, from the three primaries out through 
the secondaries, and along the radiating ramifications of the 
tertiaries. Shades and tones that had never seen the light 
before, even among the ambitious students of Ger6me, or the 
exuberant colorists who chased the phantom of Monet's jux- 
tvosition of wfld hues, now appeared upon the interior walls 
of the kirk, brushed there by the patient painter at the insti- 
gation of their inventors. Within, the church looked Uke a 
piebald horse, a zebra, a very drunken Alhambra, a Taj 
Mahal on which the colors had run. 

Something was sure to come of it all, so they squabbled 
with avidity; whfle we of the Hedge sat in rejoicing at their 
harmless occupation. 

Nobody knew just how it had occurred, but the Biblical 
inscription, trailing its letters along the arch of the apse, 
went all awry. It should have read: 



19 



■ Blemed be Jehovah. I«raer» God,' 
281 



The Lone Furrow 



but tomething of a juggliiiE nature had occurred in the 
limnins of the sentiment It was as though a printer's 
devil, having the line to set up, had used Roman and Arabic 
characters indiscriminately, with a dash of Old English and 
a spnniding of German. God's name stood out rather 
prominently, and that is all iluit could be said in its favor. 
Jehovah certainly read Jonah, or Godown, or a vivid fancy 
might have even pictured it as Golly. The letters had gone 
on a spree; they wre like a ffle of bluejackets of different 
nationalities, very full, coming down a main street arm in 
arm. They leaned groggily up against each other where 
they should have dressed in open order; and they turned 
away in disdain where their natural condition should have 
been one of affinity. 

Bain had an idea, confided to me, that the painter, tired 
of the many interferences, had deliberately painted them a 
text against the sin of meddling. MalcoLn maintained that 
the line carried the sign manual of every elder in the church; 
that each groggy letter was meant as a protest to each 
worthy's oiSciousness. 

Nothing could escape the interested Scots. The furnace 
pipe running the full length of the basement with true Celtic 
economy of heat was not allowed to pursue its peaceful career 
unchallenged; it became a huge serpent of insidious discord. 
Varnish was the medium of contention. MacKay was 
strong on varnishes, so was the Undertaker; and Waiie 
Watson had had great experiences in the same "ne. But 
MacKay brought his argument to bear on the subject in 
the way of a two-gallon ran of his favorite adhesive. 

"There I" said he, planking the can emphatically in 
front f the painter, " gi'e it a coat o' that, an' if anyone 
282 



The Lone Furrow 



objects gi'e it another. I ha'e stovepipes in my house for 
twelve years coated with that preparation, and the iron's 
all rusted awa', but the pipes still stand pide as ever- 
just the varnish, mind you, not a trace o' the original 
iron." 

It was a strong testimony, likewise the varnish was to 
hand, so on it went. MacKay surveyed the glistening pipe 
with fatherly pride, saying: " For many a year I've had the 
stink in my nostrils o' the varnish Willie Watson glued they 
pipes wi'. Man alive 1 he near smothered Tommy the sex- 
ton last fall when the fire was first started. I'll take my 
religion wi'out smells if I can manage it." 

So they builded away at the kirk, while we at the Hedge 
lay becalmed in the shadow of the Albatross. 

The first evening after Robert's going away Jean had 
indulged in a terrible fit of despondency; she had wept her- 
self into a state of exhaustion. Luckily sleep, erratic agent 
of solace, had come, carrying on its wings Nirvana, and in 
the morning hope had touched her soul with courage. 

Then for a time the letters from Nurse Eloise had car- 
ried Jean along with their interest. 

We never spoke of Munro now; there was no verbal 
admission that he was dead— we just waited in silence. 

T le summer, dying gloriously, seemed to drag the earth 
with it to some huge grave; the Autumn air carried a sense 
of dissolution; the earth lay in restful sleep, like a Buddhist 
priest on a funeral pyre, dressed in robes of tawny gold 
awaiting a change. The spirit of transition that murked 
the atmosphere breathed into our hearts, and I saw that 
Jean, out of the sheer emptiness of a life that held only « 
desolating silence, was growing morbidly nervous. 
883 



The Lone Furrow 



"We must do something," I said to the Memiahib; 
" there must be some break in this monotony. Jean is like 
a fretful child that needs a watch held to iu ear, or a clat- 
tering toy in its hand. Something in this way— we must 
devise a change, even for a day." 

At once the Memsahib threw a hazard, threw it with 
eyes shut, not knowing the many sixes that rolled from the 
box. " We'll have Molly out from York, and drive up to 
see Cousin Beth at Valleyford. The drive will do Jean 
good, and the sight of Beth in her brave little life is enough 
to shame one into courage." 

"The very thing," I answered. To me Beth was a 
dream-lady. I knew her as well; all about her plucky fight 
against adversity, all about her three boys and Matthew, 
who was never Mister Anybody, but just Cousin Beth's 
husband. And yet I had never seen the little body. The 
sixteen-mile drive to Valleyford was one we were always on 
the point of taking, but something always interposed — bad 
roads, or storms, or lame horses — always something. 

So Molly, who was our children's Auntie, was got out 
from York, and the next i,,oming the Memsahib and Jean 
and Auntie and myself sterted, and, at the last minute, we 
took Kippie, just as when one is all dressed up in his best 
he pins a rosebud on the lapel of his coat. 

Tacitly each one of us three, who were consoling servi- 
tors to Jean, had determined to make the most of the drive; 
and Nature, knowing of our intent, had draped the gnarled 
oaks and spreading maples and mighty elms with Titanic 
design and rainbow coloring. 

Keewatin the Bowman had shot his arrows, which are 
the North Wind, frost-pointed, into the heart of the forest, 
284 



The Lone Furrow 



«nd the maple leaves, splashed with its blood, were like red 
letter* of vengeance crying out against their death. 

All that was my fancy, and Jean, interested, said it was 
very beautiful. 

Then the Memsahib— the forest-lined road taking her 
back to the Burma jungles— found yellow-robed priests 
P^oongyis, in the towny-leaved oaks, oriental Druids; and 
Molly declared that the dead leaves fluttering to earth like 
stricken birds were golden sovereigns. 

To Jean the hills in the distance were on fire. That 
also was the blood-red stretch of crimson maples; and about 
and over this imaginative conflagration hung the blue haze 
of autumn that was like a lacework of smoke. 

We topped one hill but to see another; valley succeeded 
valley, as though in prehistoric times rivers had raced side 
by side with the eroding continuance of a million years. 

To me it was an awakening. Down in the village, a 
place of great worth, the tillers of the soil coming to my 
door with butter and eggs and things of barter were men 
«kin to peddlers; but here, where broad acres stretched 
forth m majesty to the sky line, and herds rose up from 
their grassy couch to gaze upon us with eyes of equality, 
I. transformed, became of the kin of the packman, seeing 
the master of these lands of production a monarch reign- 
mg m his ovm right, his huge bam a fortress stored with 
"mmunition for the battle of life; his dwelling a feudal castle 
with none to cross the drawbridge but at the pleasure of its 
lord. 

Presently the Memsahib discovered a border of flowers 
ninnmg the length of two hundred acres of land. The flow- 
ers were lichens and mosses that had homed for thirty years 
a8S 



The Lone Furrow 



upon the weathered fence. Gentle gray green* and flesh 
pink and cmboMcd tUvei^-altogether beautiful was the in- 
tricate witchery of this monogram which was Time's initials 
engraved upon the boards. 

Youth, five years young, sitting astride Kippie's shoul- 
ders, touched with the belladonna of ecstasy her big won- 
dering eyes till they glittered, dark-blue M^phires of de- 
light. Youth's deft pencil curved imaginative lines of beauty 
about a ewe-necked, broken-kneed, sway-backed old mare 
in a clover pasture till the little lady exclaimed with joy. 
"See the lovely colt I" 

I'm sure that Jeaii sighed; and I cried exultantly, "A 
kingdom for such rose-tinted glasses! " 

The old sheep were lambs, and a dismal pirate of a cow- 
bird a robin, to Kippie. 

Slowly we jogged up Silver Brook hill a fuU mile, and 
at the top such a panoramic view of hazed valleys and 
golden-haired hills stretched away that the very hones 
stopped in admiration. Perhaps in reality they were a little 
blown, but I allowed them to linger, for there, at the cost 
of nothing, we had come into the possession of a Turner 
worth a prince's ransom, or was it a Poussin, or a Claude? 
Browns, transparent and luminous, pearly grays that softened 
the rude outline of majestic oaks, and, twining in and out 
through the olive green of a pine<lothed valley, was the 
glittering thread of Silver Brook. Away to the right, nes- 
tling in the golden-brown valley, was a hamlet, its red- 
brick hostelry and church, dim bloodstones. 

"It is beautiful 1" Jean exclaimed. I could hear her 
drinking in great drafts of the crisp autumn air, that with 
unseen fingers had stolen myrrh and frankincense from the 
286 



The Lone Furrow 



reiinoui pine* and the browninK buds of the cedar for the 
anointing of our lungi and the adoration of our souls. 

S« yon little speckl " I cried, pointing to the hamlet. 
That* Silvertown," Jean said. 
" Strenuous Scotchmen built that place," I added ; " great 
men thty are in this section; great men among men. And 
yet It IS but a pinhead— God made all the rest." 

At the bottom of the hill we dipped into a leaf- 
roofed tunnel, and the Memsahib. touching my arm. said: 
There, the watering trough; let the horses have a 
dnnk. 

From a little pool dappled with curly watercress crystal 
spnng water purled and rippled to a great hollow wooden 
log beside the road. Stately rushes nodded their brown heads 
over the cress, and their faiiy-winged seeds were now veed- 
mg away to foreign lands, borne on the autumn wind. A 
litUe deeper m the grotto, where the tiny stream sang over 
green-mossed rocb, grew ferns almost indefinite in the deli- 
cate tracery of their sepia fronds. 

When I threw loose the checkreins, the horse* thrust 
their muzzle* mto the beaded champagnelikc water, nostril 
deep. 

We had come leisurely— haste, servantlike, waiting upon 
content-among Earth's tapestries we had loitered, so the 
horse* were not too hot to drink. I watched huge balb 
chase each other down their stretching throats, and soon, 
with snorting sighs of content, the happy topers shoved back 
from the bar. 

The Memsahib called down to me a* I drew again the 

cneck: If men were as wise as horses " 

"They are in some things," I interrupted. 
287 



The Lone Furrow 



"\Vhen hones have had enough to drink they itop," 
•he Mid ; " but men are not *o wiie," 

"n"iJ''\'"'"^."*J*'^'"« '" development," I objected. 
Baldy, there, if he knew enou^ to My to Jack, ' Here'a to 
you. Jack,' and the other understood, I've no doubt they'd 
both drink too much for their good." 

It was a revamped Scotch story I had made use of to 
refute the MemMhib; but Molly's laugh brought another 
from Jean, and I izlt that we were getting on nicely. 

And so through the land beautiful, gypsies by its hum- 
bling force, we came to Cousin Beth's village. 

Valleyford stands like a meditative stork upon one leg 
Its other limb (in truth it never had one) tucked away out 
of «ght; and in the missing limb's place are fields of wheat 
•tubble, and purple-furrowed land showing the brown with- 
ered foliage of potatoes that nestle in its bosom. For a mile 
on our right was the urban manifestation of men living 
•houlder to shoulder, and to our left the suburban solemnity 
of fecund farm lands. 

" fn t^e n«me of all grotesque survey, what happened 
this place m its babyhood ? " I asked. " It's like half a shirt, 
it's like a sleigh with one runner, it's like half a turkey for 
a Christmas dinner." 

"It was Roiy MacDonald that made- the village travel 
«o far, explained Molly. "The others would not build 
the kirk on the spot he picked out, so he ji«t Mt down, 
douriike, vowing that he'd 'Gie them the full o' their 

T r^rr^'','l Z"*^' *•'''" ^~* "■' * J'«ne ""d t« wor- 
ship. Its all his land on the left, and he wouldn't sell 
an acre. 

" Worthy descendant of Bruce of the Spider story," I 
288 



The Lone Furrow 



the Me««h,b w.. not of our Highl.nd comn,o„id,y 
houi"rt.^ .'*'"*' ""'•' • *™^' broken-b^ked loj- 

that rf,«dc the M«Don.ld h«l IJvcd «,d h«J hi. being when 
^e^deared .he he.vy forest from his first .ere of ilT.bi; 

Pink-topped beeu ud huge postlike mangel,, their red 
.gulden thn«t above the «,il. leered through .'rS' fei^ 

« th.r„ t u"^ "' *'•' '""'" '^'°» '"^ thorough- 
fare that was half country road and half village street. 
From opposite the very gate of the tall^ired kirk • lane 

« hedged ..de was a farm mansion, angular, square, impo^ 
ing m Its uncompromising architecture. 

d J rhM^Kwr *' ^«D«'"«J'' i»"'"e from the front 
door each Sabbath morning, a grim smile lighting up hi, 
nrong features as he saw. up and down the r««dway « f. 

Z^ '^l'""''' "'"'^'' "■"'" ^"y- »'"« ^'■"•e*". in their 
Sunday best, tramping to the kirk that he could ha e 
Plumped a stone into from his own veranda. Indeed he 
m^ht have milked his cows in the ban,yard each ^rbbaS 
evenmg to the music of the organ had he so wished. 

the riiJri \ "? ''" •"*"'" *^™«' Molly; and to 

Ae nght I saw the slender figure of . woman proffering 
he mmafon of an open gate, in front of a low-w^led ^ 
t««e, the shmgles of its roof spaced off into tiny squares. 
289 



The Lcnc Furrow 



like a checkerbowd, by bright green rkw that nwted in the 
cracb. 

A$ I twayed the carriage to the walk Beth came to a 
wheel, and, reaching my hand, laid: "And yo„ came, Doc- 
tor— this i« almost too much happinew for one day." 

TTiere wu a touch of unconidout drama in the generous 
thought, u though unstinted joy must bring an aftermath 
of ca'wiity. I looked curiously at Beth as my companions 
tumL ' rapturously into her arms. She was small and 
slender. 

Matthew wu working in the shop, Beth said; would I 
dnve there and he would see to the horses. I scanned Mat- 
thew's face, and considered him curiously as something that 
affected Beth's life— abstractly interesting. 

Matthew sighed when he put on his coat, and, I 'anded 
looked regretfully at the unfinished carriage wheel over 
which he had bent his back in toil. 

To the hostler of the hotel we made ever the hones. 
As we turned the corner a great angular man issued from 
the bar and solemnly asked, "Are you no' weel the day. 
Jarvis?" 

" I'm fairly well," Matthew answered me<!kly. 
" I'm glad o' that— I was fearin' when I see you wi' your 
coat on." ' 

Beth's husband explained nothing, and we took our way 
along the board sidewalk that was the very outskirts of the 
city, the rebuking of civilization against the grassed border 
of the dour MacDonald's holding. 

Two men stood waiting our approach, gazing with fixed 
mterest upon my companion. 

"What's up. Matt?" one of them asked, as— the nar- 
290 



The Lone Furrow 



»W -H**"""''" •^'^'* """^"^ •>"'■♦* "-"P'y. •''owing nei- 
ther MnoyMce nor ,nter«t in the query. 

I m gl«d o' that. Dugidd. here, when he tee it w.i 

Z U '^' ri«" i-n-P"" t« the conclu.iJ.L rJ; 

rfriTrrX""" ' '""• '"' ^"" ''-' -" " ^-^ 

-II ^J' t""?*" '' -^r'* •""« "-«'» «P'""« "bout him- 
:^V:f^ti'" But the quiet ,itt.en.«.h«,,ent.e 
"The n,i»us is doing finely, thank you," he answered- 
•ble promontory o^ the two, we swung or our way again. 
thJir ^'°" ^' "'^'•*'' "« ''■«>« cottage Mat- 

« coat and idled on the streets. Indirectly I was bemm 
■ng acquainted with Beth's husband. 

"Will you come into the parlor?" Jarvis invited ., 

ZL'^fu^'rr *" ''"«- "P- « doo7to th tht 
wd wepped back for me to pass. ^ ' 

tothe''l.[^'"/"? *""" """^ *•"■'*■ ""<• brurfied clean 
TwJS iL'i*^"" •«". «''"'"« -«- h-e upon 
Z^7"\Zr J "^"'.tT '"*"=«y °f flower-decorated 
taT.: T . ^'''' ^"^ » ^*y Shepherd "-worked 

.^ rC "Tl " '^'^ ^•'^ O- ««»« "^k d 
« me ftom over a clock mantel. 

^Zr^ '"'"'''. ""''" ™*''^*'" J»"» »"8B«ted. " I 

K«««J^y take my pipe to the kitchen," he added hesitatingly 

EteA « mucn set against tobacco smoke in the curtains; fu 

they are bu^ now over the dinner, and if you'd like a pipe 

291 



The Lone Furrow 



I'll shut the door and open the window, and I don't think 
she'll know. You'd not need to mind anyway," he added, 
" you'll be away." 

There was resignation and, I'm sure, hidden humor in 
the little man's speech. 

But I didn't wish to smoke, and through the open doors 
came drifting across the narrow hall a clatter of china as 
the four women bustled from dining room to kitchen. I 
heard Molly's voice saying: " Never mind, Beth, the boys 
will be just as well in the city as though they were here 
with you." 

Beth in the little (citchen must have >»pressed a fear, for 
the Memsahib said : " They are such steady boys, Beth ; 
they'll be all right— you'll see! " 

A little pause, and again the Memsahib's voice: "So 
lonesome? I know; but that will wear off — oh, now, Beth, 
you silly child ! " 

Then Jean, her rich, soft voice in gentle chiding: " You 
poor dear, Beth — ^you are just tired out. Come and sit here 
beside me. There, now, don't cry! You are lonesome! It 
is so dreary ! Of course it is ; I know how — " Jean's voice 
stopped abruptly. 

" I guess I'll go and bring in some wood for the missus," 
Matthew said, rising. " Here's the album if yoii like to 
look at pictures. I'll be back in a minute." 

Just once I heard a little sob from the dining room across 
the hall, and the slow, solemn voice of a man, and I knew 
that Matthew had deceived me — ^that he was not bringing 
in wood at all. 

Presently he came back, saying: " Seeing the girls again 
has sort of upset the missus a bit. She's powerful down- 
292 



The Lone Furrow 



spirited since Jimmie went away. The three of them have 
gone now; Jinunie went a month ago." 

Presently Beth's voice sounded at our very door: " You 

t"ble at l«r'''' ^°" ^' "'"^ **""' ^"' '*'""" '' °" *•" 
Beth slipped her hand through my arm, and we marched 
into the little dmmg room that seemed to bulge with the 
presence of so many grown-ups. 

h.J^l^'u^fl'J"'^ °* '^' *"'"'' ^^-^ »«•', Matthew 
bowed h.s head behmd a little hillock of roast beef till his 
gray wisps of thin, dry hair peeped from either side of it 
like whiskers on a fat-faced Indian. 

" Lord for all thy bountiful gifts we thank thee." Mat- 
thew said meekly; and then to the soft rustle of lifted nap- 
kins he piped a shrill accompaniment on a steel with a carv- 
ing knife. 

And such a sauce there was to the meat! the wonderful 
necromancy of Molly's optimistic future for Beth and Mat- 
thew when the boys presently became rich, as they surely 
would in the great city. ^ 

"It's prettj' hard to make money these times." Matthew 
sighed. 

But Molly scoflEed at the idea. Herbert was sure to 
get on; he was starting in the way-had the very same billet 
n he Canadian Pacific Railway that the now President of 
that line had had when he was a boy. 

. ./"'if"'^"' « **"■* optimistic picture, and, nodding to me. 
said: You are sitting in Herbert's place-that's where he 
always sat, at that comer. Jimmie used to sit here beside 
MoUy.^" ^"'"^ """ •"''' ^°* ^'^ ^""8 hours. 

293 



i if 



?ai 



The Lone Furrow 



"Just the thing for a boy; it keeps him out of — " 
Molly hesitated to even hint at the temptations of the city — 
" it iceeps him from getting lonesome. I saw him the other 
day, and he's growing to be such a man ; you wouldn't know 
him, Matthew." 

Beth's face softened to exquisite beauty ; she reached over 
and patted the consoler on the arm. 

"The little Mother! eh, Molly? you always got that 
name, didn't you?" 

" I'll look after Herbie, Beth," Molly comforted; " he'll 
soon get promotion, then he'll have shorter hours." 

" In my time," iiiterrupted Matthew meekly, " we never 
looked for shorter hours — it was a job we were anxious 
about." 

Though we had started with a plain roast, and our host- 
ess was a desolate little mother deprived of her boys, before 
we had finished it was an uproarious banquet; the teacups 
clinked like goblets charged with rare wine. We two men 
of advanced years were rollicking boys that laughed at the 
pranb of four school girls. Molly, or some one, had lighted 
Aladdin's lamp, and we walked by its light in the future. 
The boys were all rich; Matthew had sold his little shop; 
they had rented the cottage— they'd never sell that, never! 
— and they were all living in the city. Matthew was in a 
large way of business, a great carriage shop. And it was 
wonderful how cheaply they could live in the city, being 
altogether in one family — that was, of course, before they 
had become so very wealthy. 

When we had finished the banquet, carried to dizzy 
heights by Molly's fancy, I am sure Beth proposed that we 
throw the dishes out of the window instead of bothering to 
wash them. 

394 



The Lone Furrow 



Once in the way of apology Beth said: "It's dr«Hft,I 
to^one when one has had lovers about one all on^s 

ncu::^:^;^^;::?.^;::^;^-— -tha 

n,ounU,n fro. which the sunlight h,; l^rdoudeS: "^ 
snillJ '"''' *''"' Memsahib in distress; "I have 

spJIed my te. upon your clean tablecloth. Beth." I knel 
she had sacrificed the linen to the occasion. 

ous ofitflril'^:''"''"'''* '^'""''"^ '■" "'•"<'• ""'vf- 
ous ot Its attendant bearmg, answered: "I've got the old 

M'^t i ZT '"' T f'' ^""'^ ""'•-'-<' '- ^ «^ 

™«t M n r T' '"'^ '"'" «° °"' J'k« birds from the 
nest-Molly here hasn't any, and you, Memsahib haTe dl 

r." ^"'' ^""^ ^"' '«'>-" Then she stopped HeTeon 

d«jable, as though fascinated by the Memsahib's little .ea 

Psycholoei«lly I realized how sorrow makes one self- 

utn'SrsS -' ^- ' ^- "- ~ bad sei^ed 

But jMn got us out of our .lifEculty by saying: " I sus- 
pect Matthew is secretly pleased over it i; 5 a^ ^u'e It 

t irw."""^^ ^'"^ '"^ '-- "^ ''^-"^ "P »>• 

wmdow ; they were soon gleaming like pearls on the shelves 
ot a cabmet, a sample of Matthew's handicraft. 

Jean and Beth were sitting in a corner, the latter's hand 
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The Lone Furrow 



on Jean's knee. I could see a letter holding their attention, 
and knew it was one of Nurse Eloise's. 

"That does read encouraging, doesn't it?" Beth was 
saying. "I declare, in those big hospitals they'll take a 
human being nowadays and patch him up just like 
Matthew does a wagon — some new spokes in a wheel, a bolt 
here and a bolt there, paint it all up, and, gracious! 
It looks just like new. And even if Robert were un- 
able to walk— as good a.^ ever, I mean — he'll still have 
his glorious voice; and, as you say, Jean, now — I mean 
with all the little foolishness passed — you'll be so happy 
together." i 

Wondrous epistle! Perhaps Fate, so compromised by 
all this optimistic promise, might be inclined to fulfill. 

At Matthew's suggestion we two went for a stroll along 
the forehead of the lopsided town. 

I think the pioneer questioners of the morning had leav- 
ened the whole village with their curiosity. 

" I wonder what's happened ? " my companion said, nod- 
ding toward many little knots of people; "there seems a 
great stir in the village." And when we had walked past 
two houses, he added : " Must have been a team run away 
— I wonder if anybody is hurt?" Bun'ed in this thought, 
quite by chance, Matthew stole a march on the first villager 
who waylaid us. 

"What's up, Donald?" he asked. 

The man stared ; the same question had been on the tip 
of his own tongue. 

" Aye, I was just wondering. Have the boys come home 
— have they made rich already in tne dty?" 

"What made you think they were back, man?" 
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Seem you walkin' round in the middle of the week 
with your hands in the pockets of your Sunday pants " 

Then I noticed, for the first time, that Beth's husband 
Bad changed his suit. 

" I'm not much for having them in anybody else's 
pocket, Jarvis answered dryly. His retort filled me with 
passionate joy; I was coming to know Beth's husband. 

Yons a great card, coming in the buggy," Matthew 

Ti '''i.rj^ "^^ '^''^^"^ ""• ""«'" « "'^h f^^er, old 
John MacBean. They're all rich about here-the farm- 
er.. The last word was sighed. However, the rich Mac- 
Bean was also curious. 

"Aye, Jarvis, she's a fine day. Had you much insur- 
«ice on the shop?" 

"Quito a bit." 

"You'll never get it; the insurance companies'll law 
you out of it. Isyonyourbrither?" MacBean was lean- 
ing over the dashboard in my direction, as though he would 
stretch his big red-haired paw and pull me to the seat at 
his side. 

" You're a. bit forward, MacBean." 

In astonishment I heard Matthew's voice, its combative 
tones seemed as stiff as a new garment on him. But almost 
immediately he added: "It's my fault, MacBean-Fll in- 
troduce you. This is the gentleman that wrote the books 
on Canada— you must have read some of them— Doctor 
Cameron." 

"VVas it in the Globe?" MacBean asked, eyeing me 
curiously. 

' No, I haven't the honor of writing for the Globe " I 
answered stiffly. The Globe was a York daily paper. ' 
SO 297 






The Lone Furrow 



■ii'M 






" Oh, you're on the other side— a Tory, eh? Well, I've 
no' read ony o' your writin's in that case." 

I'm sure he laughed in Gaelic as he drove away; it was 
a harsh, barbarous cackle. 

It was night when we started for home. The long 
street was like a river that carried on its left bank the green 
and red jtwels of a lighted city, and on its right the shad- 
owy edge of silent moorland. The swinging tavern sign 
creaked on its iron hinges, pushed fretfully by the autumn 
wind. 

The jocund face in the moon tipped groggily, rakishly 
to one side, leered at us as we topped the last hill ; and for 
a mile the silver thread of the graveled road lay like a pearl 
necklace on the breast of earth. Afar, on the outer edge 
of the world, twinkled lights. 

" Home," half whispered Jean at my side, " how cheery 
the lights look. I've had such a lovely day. If one could 
but glide down this long hill, with home waiting at the 
foot of it, for ever and ever! " 

But presently we were at the Hedge. The wheels had 
hardly ceased to crunch the roadway when a shaft of light 
burst from the door, and, pellmell, tumbled forth children 
and dog in vodferous welcome; and silhouetted in the squ?re 
opening was the sturdy form of Sarah. 

" A great soul panacea to-day," I whispered to the Mem- 
sahib, as Jean slipped up the stairway to take off her wraps. 
I got the tribute of a kiss in answer, as though it had 
been all my doing— I, who had but driven the horses. 



298 




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CHAPTER XXI 

IE now put on the storm doors at the Hedge, 
the actual pine-wood barrier against "chill 
November's surly blast," and in fancy we 
hung a mental shield against all outdoor 
i. ,u ,• . '°''^f-*« 1»^". *e hammock, the basking 
m the sunhght, and the children's picnics at West Branch 

The farewell ceremony to these joys of summer had 
beena Brahmanical rite, a grand cremation of dead leaves. 

The maples lining both sides of the street had gone from 
deq. green to crimson, and from crimson to burnt gold 
and then, whispering in fear and trembling at the harsh call 
of the north wind, the leaves had showered the earth in c 
blizzard of great golden snowflakes, scurrying up and down 
the street like frightened sheep. 

Fronting the hand gate grew a maple patriarch that 
always shed tJie first drop of blood in the autumn dying: 
that unfurled the earliest red banner of leaf nudation, and 
always from tne same small limb. The children had come 
to look, perhaps with apprehension, perhaps with eagerness, 
for this scarlet letter that spelled "return to school," for 
Its appearance was coincident with the close of the summer 
holidays. 

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When I pamd the word that it was the time of annual 
bonfires, the children answered with yells of delight, and 
armed with rake and broom, gathered the rustling leaved 
mto little mounds like beaver lodges. And soon the village 
lay draped in blue smoke, and the perfume of it brought 
inward lamentation for the dead summer. And it was like 
mimic warfare, for Grandma Murdoch's horse^estnut trees 
had showered to earth the glossy brown nuts, and thfse, 
gathered with the leaves, burst with detonations as r.f 
musketry. 

But at last there; were just the blackened rings of ashed 
leaves, and against the gray canvas of the autumn sky sepia- 
sketched trees standing asleep. 

In a crotch of one maple was a deserted summer cottage 
closed for the season— The Honorable Robin Redbreast's 
northern villa. 

For years the same couple of thrifty robins had homed 
with us, and once in a mood of verse I had clutched at the 
skirts of the coy, treacherous muse— only to break down 
halfway on my journey. Perhaps I had attempted too 
much, or had been overthrown by the incongruity of my 
tactics, for I had harnessed Mrs. Redbreast and Mrs. GiUis 
to the same chariot of thought. I had started ofiE fairly 
bravely with: 

" • As I rub It my tub in the shadow of the tree. 
I listen to the long thit the robin sings to me ; 
It is sweet, sweet, sweet. 
Where the sky and meadow meet. 
And the daines flood the valley like a sea. 
300 



The Lone Furrow 



• • The roWn with the ruwet where 'twu cherry red before. 
Hu built her ne.t for .get in the tiee dwve my door j 
It i« ipring. ipriog, ipring, 
ThM'i the memge thit I bring. 
And ■ ^^™^.^ I ft 






Alul I never could get beyond thiV-never find the 
elujive Ime of completion. It was like the mislaid fifth 
finger of a hand; like a blown-up fort of the Cinque Ports. 

But If the Ime did not come the robins did, not caring 

wJrl '^",.7.""" ** ^"""^ " """ Mem«,hib's garden 
was like the hd of a pepper box from the boring of angle- 
worms. 

Like the robins we figuratively took wing to the south- 
era warmth of indoors; like beavers we passed to the inner 
lodge; as disciples of Zoroaster to worship at the grate-fire 
shnne, and dull our ears to hoarse Winter's knock. 

K- !^** """'^ '^"' """'"8 t° a time of lull in all 

>*ings. The church was nearing completion; there were 
WW thmgs left in its construction to wrangle over 

One day I carried home a letter to Jean, addressed in 
the upstanding attenuated characters I had come to know 
as Nurse Eloise's peculiarity. 

I had barely turned on my heel after the morning's 
greeting, when Jean, who always opened the Nurse's let- 
ters with feverish haste, called to me to come quickly. 

Startled, knowing that it was something of the letter, 
yet I noted with acute consdousnrss that it was not a cr^^ 
of despair; her voice rang with the joyous clang of hope. 

Jeans big black eyes blazed in a glorious illuminaMon. 
5>he thrust the letter into my hand, crying: " Read that, 
301 



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The Lone Furrow 



I 

.1 



Doctor. My God I I can hardly tnut my own eyct. 
Read it, and tell me that I am not the victim of wme 
strange fancy I" 

Read the letter? Heavens! I could only filter its 
Gallic promiscuously through the rigid mesh of an Anglo- 
Celtic sieve. It had been dicuted by Robert and written 
by Mam'sclle Eloise; the dogmatic assertions of a Celt 
treated, modified, distorted by the vivacious fancy of a 
parenthetically inclined Frenchwoman. 

Three readings of the epistle developed two distinct con- 
victions. Robert had, seen Neil Munro standing beside his 
cot for a second one night— that was Robert's belief. 

Nurse Eloise intimated that this was possibly a hallu- 
cination, ofEering as conclusive evidence for this conviction 
the fact that she had not seen this strange M'sieu — this was 
Nurse's contradictory opinion. 

Robert had dictated: "I spoke to Neil, but he did not 
answer; I think he did not hear me — but it was Neil." 

Jean sat quietly, her hands crossed in quaint childlike 
fashion in her Up, while I slowly perused the letter. 

" What do you make of that? " she asked when my eyes 
turned from the letter to the grate fire in contemplative 
thought. 

" In this appendix, which Mam'selle has considerately 
written upon a separate sheet, not troubling Robert for his 
signature, she infers that Robert is just possessed of a fancy. 
People who are ill ai... confined that way to bed, having so 
much time for introspection, do take their imaginings very 
seriously." 

"This is not an hallucination, though," Jean said de- 
cisively. " Robert has seen Neil. My brother had the least 
30a 



The Lone Furrow 



imasination of any person I ever knew. That wu a great 
drawback in fighting hit weaknett. I have tried to picture 
to him the awful coniequences, tried to paint the living hell 
it would bring to him, but it was always at though I spoke 
a strange language, not one word of it seemed to sink into 
his consciousness or undei standing." 

" He may have teen some one — some other person," I 
contended. 

" No one who had ever seen Neil could have mistaken 
another person for him." 

I thought how true this was. Before my eyes flashed a 
mental picture of Munro's extraordinary head. Strangely 
enough, it was a Mephistophelean head — strong raven-black 
hair luxuriantly topped a tapering face of ivory paleness; 
intense, piercing black eyes, rather small, almost glittering, 
seemed to stab from under black brows delicately penciled 
in almost straight lines; the mustache was equally coal black. 
It was a nervous, sensitive face, carrying always an atn.os- 
phere of combat with pain, either mental or physical, per- 
haps both. I was forced to admit that it was incomprehen- 
sible that Robert should be mistaken in Neil, but I said: 
' Nurse here speaks of some man who occasionally visits tSe 
hospital, a M'sieu Mordaunt. She thinks that Robert has 
seen him, for he answers somewhat the description th,« boy 
gave her of the man he saw at his cot-side." 
" Yes, that is Neil," Jean answered quietly. 
"Impossible!" I ejaculated. "If it were Neil, why 
didn't he stop when Robert called to him? " 

My question threw Jean into a momentary confusion; 
her calm logical attitude changed to one of trepidation. The 
sudden look of pain in 'ler eyes reawakened in me the suv 
303 



The Lone Furrow 



picion— almMt confirmed it to a certainty— that there waa 
an extraordinary wmething about Neil'* going away that 
both the and Robert had knowledge of, and of which we 
knew nothing. 

Recovering bertelf, the answered presently: "Neil i.iay 
not have recognized Robert— he it to changed by hit illnnt. 
He would be dretted di£krently, and lying on a cot Neil 
would not expect to tee him there; the hotpital light would 
be dim." 

" But Robert tayt the man he taw ttood by hit cot for 
a tecond." 

" Yet, in pasting, Neil may have caught a flitting tem- 
blance in tome feature that jutt appealed momenurily to 
his memory; then, in an instant, as imprettiont wing their 
rapid way acrots our minds, it was gone, and he patted on, 
not hearing my brother't voice — it would be weak. Per- 
hapt attonithed, Robert did not at first open hit lipt." 

" But Robert writes at though thit man mutt have heard 
him — that't what I gather from hit letter." 

"Well, if it had been, at you think, a ttranger, one 
Mordaunt, and he had heard Robert't call, he would have 
gone back. It was Neil." 

" Well," I taid, at the end of a painful tilence, " there 
is but one way to tolve thit new myttery." 

" Yet, just one way," Jean confirmed. " But who is to 
underta' it — I can't disarrange the lives of my friends?" 

" Nonsense, Jean ! " I answered. " I'll go to Montreal 
and find this Mr. Mordaunt — or disabuse Robert's mind of 
his fancy— or find Neil, if he's there." 

" He is. He is there. And I can't express my thanb 
to you." 

304 



The Lone Furrow 



"Again, nonienK, Jewi. I wu itching to run down 
and have a look at Robert anyway— it will cheer him up, 
if nothing else come* of it. You mustn't build too much 
upon my bringing Neil home with me. Don't let so sligl - 
a chance give you a hope that would cause you misery if it 
were proven false." 

" It isn't a false hope," Jean answered, with utter con- 
viction. " Robert has seen Neil, and you will bring him 
back, Doctor; you'll just shut your eyes, and your ears, and 
your heart, and your lip*— you'll just close your very soul, 
and bring Neil back to mel " 

"I will, Jean," I said earnestly, wondering at her 
vehemence. 

But, after all, why should I wonder at anything? Was 
it not all some terrible, inexplicable mystery, so shrouded in 
suggestive mysticism that I had almost entertained a dread- 
ful, a horrible suspicion that Neil might have btcn mur- 
dered in the Manse, slain— my God I— In a fit of ungovern- 
able passion by Robert. And even now, at once there was 
an evil recoil from half-infected optimism; perhaps the boy, 
through long brooding, was haunted by a visual reincarna- 
tion of Neil dead. 

" I will go Monday morning," I said, speaking to hush 
with my voice the flutter of these evil bat wings of thought. 
Bain called in the afternoon, and now, uninfluenced by 
Jean's conviction, I was entirely on the side of Nurse Eloise, 
claiming that the mission to Montreal was predestined to 
failure, though necessary to lay by the heels this stalking 
ghost. Malcolm was not so sure that I was right. 

" Do you remember," he asked, " how Mrs. Cameron 
bowled over the Major's materialistic argument, that if you 
305 



11 



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■ %': 



The Lone Furrow 



couldn't see through a stone wall, ergo there was nothing 
on the other side of it?" 

" You mean the telepathic connection between Twinnies' 
minds?" 

" It's greater than our accepted idea of telepathy," Mal- 
colm contended, " for that radiates from minds in active 
whirl, their owners awake and thinking with tremendous 
intensity; but whatever it is that governs the little ones in 
their sleep, it is far more subtle, for they are not, as it were, 
active agents, either of them; they are almost in an illimit- 
able Nirvana." 

"You are deepej- in this even than I, Bain — but how 
does that eflect this question of Neil?" 

"Just this way. I have noticed that women — perhaps 
they must be of extreme sensibility, of impressionable fiber — 
have a subtle sense that there is no describing, no naming 
— it is so beyond comprehension in its illusive subtlety that 
one thinks of it as one thinks of eternity. And I should 
say that Jean Munro, with her highly developed mentality, 
has this receptivity, and comes by infallible truths in the 
most inexplicable manner. As you say, she has the most 
complete faith in Robert's story that he saw Neil Munro. 
Her simple sincerity even affected you who had the circum- 
stantial evidence on your side as against this belief." 

"You think, then, that I shall find Minister in Mon- 
treal?" 

" I think we shall." 

"'We' — are you going, too, Malcolm?" 

Bain nodded quite simply. 

" I'm glad of that, it will make our search doubly thor- 
ough; it's very good of you." 
306 



The Lone Furrow 



Not at all— not at all, man; I'm glad to get away 
for a bit. MacKay and his -r. .ash, and the others of across 
the way with their bicke ings, are a ,ouch tiresome. I'm 
wanting a little change; ;;m if we ha .pen upon Munro he 
might listen to me— we v,t:t iii-At friends." 

" You think, Bain, that for some reason he might not 
want to come back?" 

"Well, he has stayed away, hasn't he? But I'll tell 
you the truth, Doctor-what I'm thinking-that his reasons 
are all in his mind." Bain tapped a forefinger on his fore- 
head suggestively. "Munro had a temperament too finely 
strung to stand the strain of intense unavailing effort, and I 
suspect the chords just went loose with a snap— overkeyed 
they were. I'll be with you Monday anyway. In the mean 
time, here's the errand that brought me. Doctor MacLean 
is preaching to-morrow, and he's coming out this evening. 
I wanted to know if you could roof him -I think he'd be 
quite happy here with the other children, if you wouldn't 
mind." 

It was the softest kind of sunshine, labeled Doctor Mac- 
Lean, that bustled in through the front door a second after 
the bus wheels had ceased their rumble at our gate that 
evening. 

"A large package of panacea for the patient," I whis- 
pered to the Memsahib, as Doctor MacLean took Jean by 
the hand, clinging to the tapering iinger^ to give them a 
little occasional shake as he rattled on: " My, my! dear mel 
how well you're looking! You're just your mother over 
again. I've been so eager to see you all again. I've been 
wondering how that robin— or was it a sparrow— that we 
fed, got on." 

307 



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I. 

t 

I 



The Lone Furrow 



Then later, when the early winter night had chilled and 
gloomed the village, we gathered about the ruddy grate — 
the old boy and the other children, nine of us. Ticked off 
by numerals — first, the veritable juvenile. Doctor MacLean, 
so full of quaint humor; then the five minors in the cog- 
nizance of the law, the children; seventh and eighth, the 
Memsahib and myself, youthed to childishness by the leaven- 
ing influence of all these little ones; and ninth, Jean, 
strangely full of suppressed excitement over the new hope. 

Not for such a group theology or literature, which 
would assuredly run into egoism, but the discussing of some 
act of prowess by one tof us elders. 

In the black-sooted walls of the fireplace a hundred tiny 
eyes of fire blink at us; they are like meteoric stars in a 
night sky. I know a storm is brewing for the atmospheric 
pressure has caused the soot to cling. 

The children gather closer to the hearth, their faces 
bathed in the rose-light of the fire. A mimic battle of im- 
agination soldiers is on. Boers creep from their hiding 
places in the crevices of the bricks and blaze away at lines 
of British entrenchments. We see the flash of the guns, 
running from end to end of the trenches; little bright dots 
of evanescent fire, quick dying in the background of the black 
soot. The enemy are driven back and retreat up the chim- 
ney, their formation broken; sullenly they give way, firing 
spasmodically. Presently all is dark — ^not a rifle spits its 
venom of red. 

" The battle is over," I say. 

" Look 1 here ihey come again ! " shouts Doo-doo. 

Once more the battlefield is lighted up by the rolling 
fire of musketry. And now the artillery! Shells hurtle 
308 



The Lone Furrow 

through the air; hand grenades are thrown. These are 
httle blurs of soot that drop blazing into the grate 

All down the length of a long brick the attacking force 
drives the men from their trenches— to the very edge of the 
Barren Unds-alkali plains, which are gray bricb within 
the grate-fire zone, guiltless of soot. 

The children hold their breath as the struggle waxes 

fierce. Of course they are all on the side of the British ; even 

Doctor MacLean, man of peace, becomes a partisan of war. 

Im afraid we've lost the battle," he says; "they've 

conquered us this time." 

Even as he spreads this evil news there is a most furious 
onslaught by fresh troops upon the Boer flank, their left 
wing. 

" Hurrah! " I cry; " that's the Canadian brigade to the 
rescue! 

It is a thrilling battle-cry that I have sent forth; the 
children spnng to their feet in eagerness. There are yells of 
encouragement to the Canadians; alas! there are no en- 
couraging cheers for the Boers, we are patriotically partisan. 

Again the British soldiers issue from their trenches, and, 
attacked front and rear, the Boers give way; the line of 
battle wavers unsteadily back and forth, always up the chim- 
ney now. The slaughter must be terrific. 

Fresh Boers pour out from redoubts and swarm down 
the steep escalade of a hill in rescue of their comrades. The 
gun-flashes of the contending forces mingle as they fieht 
hand to hand. 

It grows so real that Doo-doo shudders; tears come to 
her eyes when the hill becomes silent in darkness, and I say 
The soldiers are all dead." 

309 



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The Lone Furrow 



A solemn hush follows, and I hear the labored breath 
of a storm that rushes through the village as though cavalry 
galloped to a battlefield. There is a swirl of snow brushed 
against our windowpane by the gale-sweeping broum; it 
sounds like the twisting of a shroud. 

I think Memsahib detects the tears in Doo-doo's eyes, 
for she says: " I see a castle in the fire, Kippie, and a great 
blue flower growing out of its turret." 

Immediately our interest returns to the grate, where huge 
ships go sailing over lakes of fire. There is a black giant 
who eats up little children. Santa Claus is discovered by 
one of the Twinu, carrying a huge pack; in the pack is some- 
thing for everyone. 

For Doctor MacLean it is a horse. 
■ ' " Dear me! " cries the Doctor deprecatingly; " to be sure 
— the very thing for an itinerant preacher. But I haven't 
been on a horse since I was in the Holy Land two ye&rs ago, 
and he was a little donkey." 

Sly wag, the Doctor; I expect he also knew of Doo-doo's 
tears. 

" And the donkey's name was Judas, children," he con- 
tinued. "Dear me! yes; and well named, too, for he 
dumped me in a pool of mud; less cleansing than the Pool 
of Siloam, though." 

" Sana Tlaus has a sleigh in his pact for Laddie," Kip- 
pie says. 

" Oh, bully! " cries the boy; " and it's snowing outside. 
We'll have coasting down Willow Bank hill to-morrow." 

Kippie's discovery of the mythical sleigh has given us 
youth's viewpoint of the harsh storm. 

But it is now bedtime for the children. And when they 
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The Lone Furrow 



have gone, swirling up the stairs like a chattering flock of 

trate W I^^^^JT^' ^' "^ "^^ ^'"^ «'"«-P- 

The poor old Doctor's voice dies away in a squeak of 

horror; .nvoluntarily and with great ill-b'reedingTe tur„ 

our eyes upon h.s troubled face. He is speechless for a ^ 

1 fen to thmkmg of my sermon for to-morrow, and I'm 

^'::^ ~; •' "' ' '" '^"^ °"'- ^'"' -'^ -'^^ ^- -«:: 

The sweet old gentleman is showered with forgiveness- 
there .s nothmg to forgive. His simpleness is lovable. 

But now the grate fire, ashed to a sullen redness writes 
ethargy m shadow-letters upon the hearth, and I sa^' "d^ 
tor^whenever you are ready to retire-there's a lighVin ^ur 

in hl^r "'•' ^^' ^""^ ^ '^'" ^ "°^- ^- "« one talks 
n\ Smel""" 'Tr'" *"'• '° ''''''''^' ^^^ -en 

no iittrh-M ''•'''•''''' ^' ^"""^^ ^ » ''««'«<= ^orid with 
no little children in it, wouldn't it' " 

is aSidir '"'"'' °' "'"' •'" •"■' ^°'«' '^'''»''^' f- •>« 

th^^rTK^""""^' '*''*'"''''■ "'^■"S- *= '^' '"ves us: " I think 
rf"s 1 the sweetest evening of my life. I know someth^^ 
jood .s^Eoing to happen; I fee. a strange peace^cTeeZ^inlS 



n 



.11 1 



III!.' 
It I' 




CHAPTER XXII 




|ONDAY night Malcolm and I took the train 
from New York to Montreal. The next 
morning I stepped into an atmosphere of un- 
utterable depression; the huge station, with 
its myriad of hurrying humans, shrank me to 
conscious minuteness; I was an ant — a seed from a cotton 
plant, tossed this way and that on the busy winds of life. 
Dread obtruded its grim dragon's head, and I felt strangely 
incompetent On the street the giant gray-stone wall of the 
terminal, rising like a cliff, dwarfed me to a pigmy. To 
the right, St. Peter's Cathedral, holding through the cen- 
turies its row of giant apostles, enhanced this feeling of lit- 
tleness, of insufficiency. Somehow I measured my capacity 
for the task in hand by the great dome that blurred, round 
and gray, against a blue winter's sky— emblematic of the 
immense city we were to search. 

I looked curiously at Malcolm, but he marched bravely 
at my side, his physical force superior to the influences that, 
like a chilling wind, crept to my marrow. As if my thou^ts 
had thrown him into a materialistic mood, the very antith- 
esis of mine, he said: "Man, but I'm hungry. Doctor I 
312 



The Lone Furrow 



tllln'" ^ '° ' ^''^' '"'"' * P'-'P*' workman', breakfast and 
then roll up our sleeves." "«c»«ast, and 

"Ah my leviathan of optimism!" I exclaimed- ".V. 
just such^a matter as puttin. down a carpet^^Xl' 

h Jwt' '^kno^L^ ^'"-''-''^ -^ ''^'-^ ^- 

-:p^t:trr?^''^''°''''"-"--''— ^ 

I started at Bain's word^I had never thought of this. 

^^ How do you know that? " I asked 

"By the most reliable way in the world-observation 

h" d Leo" n T" :' r °"'"^- ^"""^ -- aSsrsn 

he d keep nothmg back on that head. But it doesn't matter 
I wasn tth.nk.ng of that ; I mean we'll find out whaTSere 
«s to be found out about Neil's appearance in the hc^^.S " 

_^ You are confident Neil was there? " 

"Quite confident." 

"Why?" 

tnn "^"'i.*'' T' '■'*'°" *** ^'"" I have a headache I 
know I have a headache— I feel it." "=a«»»cne i 

" You are like Jean." 

"Nobody is like Jean-" This seemed to slip from 
Malcolm mvoluntarily, and he added hastily: " Here w" 
«re at th.: place of breakfast." 

.Jt^^T 7- """' *°"'"^ "P *^ l''"g snow-glazed 
«r«t that led to V.ctoria Hospital. By chance we had come 

ward • " 7'°" ""^ "'""'''''■ We entered a Zg 
ward, windowed from both sides, its pink walls mirroring J 

^' 313 



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r 



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The Lone Furrow 



rose light, soft and grateful, over a double row of iron cot* 
that held, in snowy sheets, afflicted humans. 

At a little desk just within the door sat the head nurse 
of this ward. 

" To see Mr. Craig? Ah, yes; ' the sweet linger,' we 
call him. You have come from his home? " 

And Robert? Ah! I'm sure tears of sympathy and joy 
mingled close to my eyes as I looked upon his face. 

A queer simile came to me, that it was as though I 
looked upon dross gold that had been passed through fire; 
something had gone in the burning, something of rude 
strength, of coarse, fiber; but the eyes were clear and tem- 
pered like blue-gray steel. And if in the face was resigna- 
tion, it was a resigning to joy, to happiness. 

"Ah!" he cried, breaking the silence in which Bain 
and I each held a hand, " this is a touch of Heaven to see 
the old faces; not but that there are sweet faces here" — 
and he smiled like a boy at Nurse Eloise — " and kind hearts, 
too." 

" You are getting better, Robert? " I asked. 

" I'm half well," he answered. " Above the kink in my 
spine, I'm a fraud to be lying here; below that, I might as 
well be buried." 

The lad was all impatience over the matter of Neil, and 
he soon launched into this. 

" You see," he began, " one night last week a poor chap 
was brought into the ward — O God! I'll never forget It, 
never, if I lived a thousand years; it was dreadful I And 
to think that I might have been like that— when I remem- 
ber it my affliction seems like a blessing." 

" What was it, Robert? " I asked. 
3H 



The Lone Furrow 



" Drink! The man was a raving maniac; he died like 
t *t-he was dead in the morning. I think Neil came with 
that poor fellow." 

" But somebody would have known," I argued 

. ."!?"°*„M""°' But a Mr. Mordaunt was seen, and 
he .. Ne.l. You will fin \ that Neil is here in the city work- 
mg among the outcast*-you will find him in the slums." 

But, Robert, why should Munro leave his congregation 
to later among strangers-why should he leave his wife and 
home? It seems impossible! " 

"It may seem so, but it isn't," Robert answered c'c- 
cisively; and his eyes, looking straight into mine, talkej on 
in unvoiced words, telling me that behind them was knowl- 
edge that I had not. 

. "h *i'""^ '■* '■* reasonable," Malcolm said, "to suppose 
Uiat If Neil IS m Montreal, it's in these low places we'll 
find him. It was that spirit of trying to save the lowest 
grade that took him to India; and as to his being here, away 
from home, it's just a case of lost memory. That is not so 
very uncommon." 

'' Well, the question is. Bain, where shall we look first » " 

Go to the Old Brewery Mission," Robert directed; 

Ive been asking a few questions from an old wreck of 

humanity that was here in the ward. The superintendent 

of the Mission, Mr. Tyler, is the man to help you." 

"\Ve'll find Neil," Bain said as we parted from the 
boy; and we'll take you both home together, I think." 

A smile flitted over the lad's face. "My heart's been 

thirstmg for a sight of the village and Jean. They're kind 

here, but—' there's no place like home.' I'll not be able to 

run about again— I'd make a poor goal keeper now, I think. 

3IJ 












The Lone Furrow 



But if I could just sit there under the maples when the 
spring comes, and hear the robins calling ' Cheery— cheery — 
cheery!' it would be just like being in Heaven. I'll get 
more joy out of life now, even with these unwilling limbs of 
mine, than I got before when I was strong. I never used 
to hear the robins nor see them; the flowers might as well 
have bloomed in Greenland — I was blind to their beauty. 
The simple things that I remember now and thirst for, as 
a man craves for water when he is dying of thirst, were to 
me nothing then, for the drink had dulled my mind so that 
I craved for nothing but it and excitement." 

Bain put his han^ on Robert's forehead, saying affection- 
ately: "You're in a good way now, Bob." 

It was the first time I had ever heard Malcolm use the 
abbreviation. 

"Yes, poor old MacKillop did me a good turn I- 
wouldn't tike back." 

" You feel quite safe, Robert — you feel strong over the 
matter?" Bain asked. 

" Quite safe, Malcolm. And I'm quite happy about it." 

"Well, I'm going to see the doctor, and if he thinks 
you'll get on as well at home now, we'll take you as soon 
as we've foimd Neil." 

At the office we learned that the Brewery Mission was 
in Craig Street. 

As we journeyed there Malcolm was in a communica- 
tive mood. 

"What's your own idea of all this, Cameron?" he 
asked. " Do you see the hand of the Lord in it? I'm ask- 
ing you because you're somewhat on the fence — not as re- 
gards your own actions, I mean, but analjrtically. If I had 

316 



The Lone Furrow 



put that question to anyone of the church people at home 
hed at once have answered. 'Yes. .Vs thelld". hLTj 

"d ^on" " " '*•"• *'"""'■"« "'^" "y «'''^"«^°" >« 

K, tirli^ "^•" ^. T*'^"'^- " ^"^"'^ ™Wortune seem, 
•o terrible— a cripple for life I " 

no Ifi? ''"„" C'.** "'' ''™ *'" «"« "»""»'■<>" he'd have 
no doubt at al . He', just thanking the Lord for hi. deliv! 
enmce, and he's the real sufferer at that." 

ought^r.;!" ' ''"'''' """' "* "^"'"■"'^' " '•«'' «'"«'«' ^« 

mi-i,'/"" """u ^''"''' *°° "'"'=•' questioning of the Al- 
mighty on other people's account; we're prone to LZ 
them that He is not treating them right." 

This IS the number-this is the Mission." I exclaimed 
f«:mB. as we stopped, a large window in which hung a cul' 

"Ete™-t' fr'l''^'''}'^' J««- of the words " TimV"3 
Eternity taking the place of the numerals-" time "in 
red letters and " eternity " in black. 

On the door, large written, was the word "Welcome." 
th, I?' ?'f;"/"*'«"'*, ^'^ '°cked. but a smaller door at 
the side yielded to my hand, and we passed up a stairway to 

S f ^ "' *'""r'' ""■'"''^ "'^"'- A broad-shoul- 
dered sturdy, strong-faced man came forward to meet uL 

wh«. I told him we were in trouble and needed his assi^ 

led Z r ^r '" 'I*'" ^^'•" ^' «"■'! ""'te simply, and 
led the way downsta-rs to his office. 

Going, I carried with me a composite picture of all the 

317 



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The Lone Furrow 



face* in that room of temporaiy refuge. At membcrt of a 
houMhold living together grow to look alike, to tliete hun- 
ger-brothers of the tribe of Poverty, their features stippled 
in the gray apathetic despair, were subdued to a com- 
monalty of kinship. The red glow of hope wu absent from 
the drawn cheeks; no jewel of desire for achievement spar- 
kled in the dull eyes; the springs of their physical mechanism 
were slackened — they were run-down clocks, listlessly quiet. 

" Now, gentlemen," said the Superintendent, indicating 
chairs as we entered his office, " I am Mr. Tyler, at your 
service — what can Iido for you? " 

Malcolm explained our errand, and when he had fin- 
ished I added: " I am afraid you will think it rather extraor- 
dinary for us to come looking for a man who is a minister 
of the Gospel among those who come into your hands." 

Tyler opened a drawer of his desk, and lifting out a 
large package of photographs, selected one, and passed it 
to me, saying: "That man was the pastor of a large city 
church — he was an eloquent, cultured, magnetic gentleman." 

The photograph I held was that of a human wreck. 

" I knew him well," Tyler continued ; " it was drink 
that brought him down — I might almost add that it is always 
drink. If the Devil were bound, chained like Prometheus 
to a rock, and the bottle still held its sway, God and His 
Word would yet have the same hard battle to save human- 
ity from itself. Isn't it sad to know that a soulless, devilish, 
inanimate engine of destruction like alcohol is almost as 
powerful as He who created worlds, and made man, and 
gave him a soul, and blessed him with intelligence?" 

Tyler threw the photographs into the drawer with a 
tragic gesture of despair, adding: " They are like a Dooms- 
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d.y Book; poor, poor wedc humwityl Tuo in th.t lot are 
mnwters; and another is of a man who wa. . I«J 
cha« of Montreal at one t-.nc. "d now hT ' riHi 
the Rm at Longue Point, landed there by wo.^^ ™. „e 

oir iyier asked of Malcolm, who had scrutiniied each 
P.ctur^ fa« that wa, a map of irre.pon.iblc wZi " 
1^0, i5ain an.wered. 
Dewribe him to me, pleax " 

ahnnf >.;~ u • . "* '*• * know nothine 

wished." ' "• *» ^ J*"* 1" h'«i come and go as he 

" It must be Munro." Malcolm said to me Th«, nt 
Tyler he „kd: "When do you expect him Z„J^'" "' 

first SbaTSitheTin^H" ""'' "'"^ •"' ""^ •« »«« 
" w Jl^ ""^ mommg or evening." 

319 



The Lone Furrow 



Walking back to the hotel Malcolm said: " I feel it in 
my bones that we'll meet in with Neil Sunday. We can look 
for him in the meantime, and the wait will give me a chance 
to arrange with Doctor Lupin to take Robert home, if he's 
agreeable. We'll be mighty proud men going back with the 
two of them — what do you say, Cameron?" 

" You're counting your chickens, Malcolm," I answered. 

"I like to do that; I have an idea that sometimes it 
makes it come about." 

For the remainder of the week we were busy, alwajrs 
patroling the streets watching for Neil, or seeing the doc- 
tor about Robert. ' I wanted Bain to employ the detective 
force to find Munro, but he objected, giving as his reason: 

"We'll just go slow, man. If we apply to the detec- 
tives it'll all come out in the papers, and the village will 
ring with it. Man alive! I can hear them in Reid's store 
telling of our hunt as though we were tracking a bear. 
We'll just wait till Sunday, and if we can't do any good 
ourselves, we'll get help from a detective." 

So, our spirits hovering between hope and fear, -we 
waited, and Sunday came with us still living on expectation. 

At nine o'clock we were at 'he Mission door. We en- 
tered into an atmosphere of coffee. If a London fog were 
just a steam cloud rising from a Titanic coffee pot, it could 
not have been more pungently odorous than the large Mis- 
sion hall, with its row upon row of chairs, each chair pos- 
sessed of a thin-clad man waiting for his mug of cofiee and 
bread and butter. 

We took seats in the back row. Bain whispering: " Man! 
but it's a charitable atmosphere. Godliness and giving are 
twins; it's Gkkl's whole manner of manifestation. That's 
320 



The Lone Furrow 



what He is— just godliness and rivine- it's »h.. I.. i. 

^kin, that tack ™an. othe. '.JL:T.o'^J::: 

IW In" " " r'"^'"' ^'»™'^' -hich is also gS' 
loor deds poor de'ilsl" Bain added softly, scanning A,; 
yellow-gray f«:es; "their shoulden droop wid, theTil S 
harass-ng sin that strikes at their physiLl Wi« tt ! 
they managed to tuck away their souls beyond its sti7g" 

cof^ZT"/^""'^ "•* '"'^ ''°^" 'he aisles with huge 
coffee pots and great mounds of snowy bread. 

soft™ "'?"' ""Z '^'''"'■'= ^''«^' '">K'''««d by advenity 
soften and round out almost to fullness as the gene«™ 

piSds:^mt;r'^^'-«'«'^'^'---s"t;s 

."? " ^r*,*" ^'''*' Malcolm," I opined. 

ture: rl^"'t " T"^ '"'"'' '" ^'^'^S ^ a fellow^rea- 
ture^ I never hankered much for wealth myself but it 

" wTte dZ""J S'^' '"""'"^ *° "* " *''« «"'■"«« said: 
of^AId." "^ *' '''^-'^' ^""""^ °f ~ff« »<» fifty loaves 

"It^s a grand work," commented Malcobi. 
After the serving of the coffee." Tyler said, " we have 
a service of song and a few words said in the ciuse w5 
you come up to the platform?" * 

]' We'll wait here," Malcolm answered. 
Very weU. If the man I spoke of appears he'll m™. 

IS 1 "^ " ^ '"/^ ""^ *° "'""^ •>»'" hold them for 

about ten mmutes. After that he always goes back into the 

eafng room, that is. through that door'^hind thTplatfo™; 

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and has a cup of cofiee and bread and butter. That will 
be your opportunity to meet him." 

Then Tyler went up to the platform, took a seat at a 
small organ, and said in his strong, resonant voice: " Now, 
men, let's have a good song service for once. Hymn 
14a — 142I Let your neighbor look on with you — we're 
short of books. All sing together now." Tyler's powerful 
baritone sent the sweet words of the hynrn echoing through 
the packed room, and the men took it up. 

" It is Jesus " 

At the end of the first verse Tyler commanded: " Sing 
it again — ^better. We're not all singing. Let's have the best 
song-service we ever had. — That's good ! Now for the sec- 
ond verse — Lift it up/ Now we'll sing No. 90." 

One of the assistants repeated the number in French. 

After a prayer Mr. Tyler came forward to the small 
desk at the front of tV.^ platform, saying: "Now I am 
going to read to you a short story that comes very close into 
jrour own lives, and I'm going to tell you about it. It's in 
the sixth chapter of the book of John, the first thirteen 
verses." 

" Now," he continued, when he had read of the loaves 
and the fishes, "there is something you can understand. 
There were all those people gathered in that place, and 
nothing to eat. But the Disciple Andrew found one little 
lad who had five barley loaves, the size of that " — ^holding 
up his fbt — " the size of a hot bun — same as your mother 
made. You remember your mothers, some of you" — ^the 
speaker leaned his broad shoulders over the little desk and 
the great baritone that had echoed through the hall the 
sweet hymn, now sank low and pleading — ^"you remember 
33a 



The Lone Furrow 



when you were like this little lad, you were going off on 

wou d fiu your pockets with cakes or buns or biscuits. 
Dont you w.,h you were the., now with that „,other t"« 

7;L^r '^''' '""■'"" '" -«-^ «•*" y-^^ 

My ga« had been riveted on the blue-gray eyes of the 
SV""""^ '''' ''' '^'y becon.e'iiiennlhl 

he wm/'"'!; ^ ^I" ^"'"'' •~^"^"' '"""' °" "y ^ri^. and 

eL T '•''m*!;?. """'■"« '"■* '««''= " "''vens! Cam- 
eron, yonder is Neil! " 

onen'^MrK"^"'""'" "^^^ ''"'^ °* *' P'«^°™ ^t«><J half 
open held by a man who had hesitated on the threshold. 

I saw the pale olive face of Neil Munro; his eyes, once 

it. r^fa "1 *''" 'f '■''"'^' "°- ''«'^ -*h weari! 

ness. rested vacantly upon the sea of faces that fronted him. 

some mr/ 'T ^''' •' ''"''' "^^'^ «"• " *« *« « 
some man here this morning who considers his soul of more 

vdue than whisky. Do you hear? " he cried, his poS 

voice rising tiU the heavy air of the room vii^rated^ " Ls 

o«* m.^ regenerated to this point is sufficient recompense 

for aU that the Lord has done for you here. Go back m™ 

to the wives diat youVe left to starve, and be men again! 

Go back to die mothers who need your help, and be sons! 

h JT-^ .* '^°°"" ^" ""*"'■"'■ «"«> *e bairns you've 
brougjit into the world, and take care of them! " 

As Munro slipped quietly to a vacant seat on the plat- 
s'!!? J^.T*'* *"' ^"^^ '* » ""'^■"e °^ *« <=•«■>: then 
he continued: Now, men, may God incline your hearts a 
little to receive the weak words I have spoken. An old 
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friend of yours has come to ofier testimony to God's good- 
ness and love for His creatures." 

The Superintendent sat down, and Neil stepped forward 
to the desk with a tired, listless movement. 

" Still working himself to death," Malcolm whispered. 

A solemn hush fell over the room ; the men charmed to 
silence by Neil's clear, flutelike voice — soft, cultured, sound- 
ing strangely beautiful in its tempered modulation; perhaps 
this irxquisite quality accentuated by comparison with the 
vigorous rhetoric of the preceding speaker. 

"God so loved I the world that He gave His only be- 
gotten Son," Munro began. 

Then he vooed the men, draggled of raiment and soul, 
with the luvc of God as told by the lips of Jesus Christ 
Munro might have been a lover sent on earth by God to 
win the hearts and souls of sinners, of men hardened by 
adversity. 

His audience listened as they might have harkened to 
words from a wise child ; a sweet simple message of finding 
their souls through opening their hearts to Divine love. 

Then he went back to Tyler's denunciation of love of 
the body, saying: "All the warfare wi'h God is because of 
the body. There are just two things in the world for you 
to consider — the soul, which is God; and the body, which 
is the devil. When you want to do right, that is your soul 
guiding you; when you do wrong — the still spirit within 
you which b your soul telling you that it is wrong — that 
is your body with its carnal earthiness. It is one long war- 
fare, with happiness forever and ever the reward of vic- 
tory. It is hard. I weep with you in your defeat, for I 
know how hard it is." 



3*4 



The Lone Furrow 



«™bi.» *. b3; ™13 rt^S"" *'""•'■» ""' » 

soul Ti,.» "«y unm the body conquered n sin the 
soul. That you will understand, for you have Jnn- T 
»«ne thing, many of you And ill a t? *'" 

despair " ^ ^ " ''"^» *" "ofhing but 

"I can't follow him," Malcolm whispered- " .V, „ . 
"Wait," I answered; " I understand him." 

the love of Jesus ChrisJ' °*^ ^ "'* ^•'"' "-^ 

door"' tun-ed away and walked brokenly back through the 

fronf oJ'thr'lT' '^''" "^ '"'^"''"^' «""« to the 

^d aver 1 £2T' Tf '"' '"""''^ '" '«"«^-«-. 
and aver the bowed heads the simple prayer floated back 

3^5 



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The Lone Furrow 



to where we sat possessed of an impatience to follow 
Neil. 

As the " Amen " rang sonorously through the hall, Mal- 
colm, clutching me by the arm, cried, " Oune, man, quick! 
we'll find Minister nicely at his breakfast." 

We hurried up the aisle, and Tyler, waiting, said : " This 
way, gentlemen; you'll nnd him at the comer table by the 
window." . 

We parsed through the door to a room containing but 
the twn helpers. Neil was not at the window table, nor 
anywhere within, i 

In fear we questioned a waiter. The pale-faced man 
who had spoken had not stopped for his usual breakfast, 
but had passed by the side door to the street. 

" Heavens! Malcolm," I moaned; " have we found Neil 
and lost him?" 

"He's gone, but we've not lost him," practical Bain 
answered ; " he can't get away from us now when we 
know he's here in the flesh. We were fair stupid though. 
One of us should have gone out the front and come around 
to this door." 

" I thought of it. Bain, but the front door was locked 
and I didn't want to disturb the meeting." 

We passed to the street and tramped up and down, back 
and forth, for an hour without discovering a trace of Mimro. 

" I can't make it out," I said. " I saw him looking our 
way just as he partly broke down; we were in the dark 
corner by Tyler's oflice, but still I'm half inclined to think 
he recognized me." 

" It may have been just that he wasn't feeling very 
well," Bain suggested ; " he looked ill, goodness knows." 
326 



'^^c Lone Furrow 



"At any rate he's gone amnnl" i j i , 
•wing him alive has takef r i f J '^'^^""^- " »« 

80 back to the i td I'l "^ ""^ ""'"'• ^e'll just 
«hib that weVetl"lilr;;^;/fr - 'He Me.- 

b^a rr„v ''■"'' - "^- -Te= ?;;^ 

not find hin.; it^ hCa ™bh ^ """ '" ""' "'y «"«» 

old-fashioned streets and t^^Kl 7""'" ^ "* ""™'^. 
two nationalitirPri L F Tk'""'"''*' '"'' ""' 
oAer. unwilling^ Z ini. '"''VJ^""' °* '^^^ 
to Mr. Carter the hZ 'TTT' ^^ '^""'^ ^o" Ko 
your friend fJr ^ L , dt- "'" '""-"''" «"" 

come upon such a ra^in th,! ' ''"" ' "^ '""P"*'' '" 
fine susceptibilities o7" womt TTk-. "' "" *' 
the godless, m give yLTS, ^^"f i"' ^ * '"«>^ *» 
better still, I'll make !„ " '"troduction to him- 

■"orrowatel^^i^ttWhT"'""'' '^'*'» '""' ^"^ 'o- 

80 to his offi«::^t;' ""' *° "* '^— -^ ^'^ 
-.VrdetSsSaror r-'"^ ■•- - -- 

"Man T M il ''"'^***.°*«, having sent in a card, 
looked islyttoa^UT'V' ^''''' '^'^' « - 
walJ. It contained a vast assortment of bur- 
327 



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The Lone Furrow 



glar's toolt — implements of iniquity, each one labeled with 
its particular association in crime; murderous slungshots, 
billies, jimmies, iron drills, fuses, dark lanterns, knives, pis- 
tols — an interminable collection. 

Half fascinated by their suggestion of human depravity, 
my soul revolted against the contaminating association of 
all these depressing things -the depraved fallen ones of the 
Mission's care, the filthy narrow streets we had traversed 
yesterday in our search, our appeal to the ofHcer of the 
law whose occupation was the hunting down of the crim- 
inal owners of tl|ese lawless tools — ^with the name of a 
minister of the gospel, with Neil Munro, pastor of a quiet 
village where the greatest crime was perhaps a drunken 
row on the street. 

It seemed impossible — it confused my mind. Somehow I 
thought of Jean Valjean creeping out of the sewer; there 
it was, similitude, the sweet-hearted little cure and Jean 
who stole his silver candlesticks. How closely the two 
came together at times, purity and hcqxless depravity. 

I was roused from this gloomy retrospect by Tyler's 
voice: "G)me, gentlemen, Mr. Carter will see us now." 

As the detective rose to greet us, and listening to his 
quiet even voice, looking into his steady blue eye, dear 
and placid, I realized again vividly how, shoulder to shoul- 
der, moral worth and vicious sinfulness stood; hand upon 
arm, and yet separated by illimitable distances. Here was 
the cure, and almost at his elbow the tools of Jean Valjean. 

" Just tell me all about the case — as much as you think 
necessary," he corrected himself, "with a view to accom- 
plishing your errand." 

When I ended in shamed apology: "It's perhaps un- 
328 



The Lone Furrow 



u»iul to ask vou tn t • . — 

look* «. crimLiifte.^ " """'"*'' '' " •"«»"Kn'ou.-it 

•n-^i "'iZitir '" r* "" '"" "-«''" »« 
harsh, we'll tr«l X 1" """i ^"'^'' '' "»'' «'""«' 

0' by force, or Ld ni T^ ^ "l^f""' ^°'"««rily. 

your friend if hrXe UT" *t '"• '"'*^- ««'" ^nd 
* That is all I JX";i;r *« «>• »<• yo" say he 

cept. of course, asTou J ^^r' ' 'T?"' ^'"' «' 
quite secretly; I can' ^ J^' ^, *« '^''yth.ng is done 
workinif, so it w.li k • """—"« our usual way of 
•nay evf; knot Ju where'!: "** T k'" ^''"""^ ^""- 

.^chiefirxr--^^r^ 

Inshm«, entered and saluted Ws Chief ^' ''"""'^ 

«kea,^ aTow-rt-r --"•■^-^" Carter 

thinr°of"L*ffe;;« tT t ? •'°"'' '""^'-^ --- 
-i^aid boots. l^";L?wt"'o •'"""'■"'' ^°' • '^••^ "^ 
mc unpleas^tly °" '"'"^ «"«««y. tbriH'd 

demarcation belTeen th. H k- "" ^'"""^ ''''^^ ''"' "f 

329 



The Lone Furrow 



inology « huge tentacled devilfish that, reaching out, drew 
man from die tliim* or from the pulpit alike. Which 
minister! which man of sin, under the eye of the de- 
tective, labeled " minister " 7 

"Were there more than one?" Carter asked in thia 
trilogy of irritating questions. 

"Yes, sir; I've been observing at least three." 

" Well, the man we want is—" Then the Chief de- 
scribed Munro with intense, crisp splashes of word ctAor; 
it was marvelous how he had condensed our lengthy de- 
scription of Neil's person. 

The young officer turned tov/ar^ me, and searched me 
through and through. 

The transition in his face was wonderful; the roguish 
Celtic blue eyes, boyish and frank, hardened, and took on 
a cunning animal look. I thought the Chief had not no- 
ticed this, but his words taught me that I was mistaken. 

" It's all right, Connor," he advised ; " the missing man 
is a friend of these two gentlemen; he has disappeared and 
they are looking for him. They want to take him back 
to his family; there seems to be something wrong with the 
poor man." 

" I can find him, sir." 

"When?" the Chief asked. 

"Perhaps to-night; perhaps to-morrow night" 

Why at night, I wonde - 1. But Malcolm expressed his 
anxiety. "Couldn't Mr. Connor be spared to-day?" he 
said; "we are very anxious and would be willing to pay 
any charges for time." 

" It isn't that," the Chief answered, and his quiet eyes 
were raised inquiringly to the detective's face. 

330 



The Lone Furrow 



Vluite i»— quite lo " «_ l j ■ 

t'H.ughhi.JS^th.j'"' TT'j^'' •;• chw, j«t « 

Connor? You .re .TlCTtil " "" '""' ^" ^"■ 
know, on this c«e." ^ *"'* J""" "'^n «iW, you 

Nine o'clock, sir" h« l- /. 

brown curly hair cou<A.-i "" ." ''"«'" '•"""gh hi. 

^-^worittihrj^eari""^ '-•« ^^">• 

off duty for ^^en^-fol;;" iri" "" "" "'"■''' ^^ '«- 

"I -e^-ycs. it would I r^tra:"'..'"^'''""-'- 

™e. he continued: "He wHI^ m° °'' ^""""K «<> 
wfll be better. You ^ 7^^^ M^^'r """ ""'^°«''''' « 

A. we «ade our w^ bS ,o .h ^'T .•^''"*'^-'' 
"I'm thinkin. r„ ^Z, '£ ^ ^^f M.,co^ «ud: 

thing one reads i„ books and never be.. 1"''' '^' •™*' 

It IS just life," I answeri.H " d ^ 
the log cabin and noblesse ^nniW^t"'' "^^ '«"» 
mg, Malcolm, it seem, LI ?!"""**• ^°" were aean- 

plow now. We'll find V«i r " I . ""'' *'«»' the 

•««i hawing about ^'^f^- '™' '*' ""^ "'» '»«-^« 



The Lone Furrow 



" But why did he uy that we mutt search for Neil at 
night, Malcolm," I aiked, "a» diou^ he were tome 
prowler of the dark?" 

" I mippoK that a detective worb better in the dark- 
like an owl he twoopt unteen upon hit prey. And, betide$, 
it'» very likely that Minister, if he is laboring among these 
waifs, can also find them better at night." 

"Well, we'll soon know," I answered wearily. "But 
I tell you. Bain, my soul shrivels before a dread something; 
an evil foreboding thrusts itself into my mind and I can't 
shake it o«E." ' 

All that day it wa» in thb mood that we waited for the 
time of search; questionings and misgivings on my part, 
and Bain buoying me up with his superior physical resil- 
iency, sending out his optimistic courage to vicariously walk 
me upon the waters of despond. 

There was a visit to Robert; and when we told him 
what we had done, he said: "Yes, they'll find Neil for 
you. And you'll just bear with him when he's found, won't 
you— no matter how it is you'll— What am I saying?" 
he broke oC 

"Of what, Robert?" I queried suspiciously, wonder- 
ing whether now he wouldn't speak. 

But he turned his head wearily away, saying; " Poor 
Neil 1 I wonder how God has arranged it for him." Then 
he changed, to speak of himself, of his going home with 
us; for Doctor Lupin thought there was nothing to be 
done now but wait for Tune's remedy— and that prom- 
ising nothing but just the solace of confirmed helplessness 
— a state of safe invalidism. 

It was a little past nine o'clock when we stepped from 

33* 



The Lon e Furrow 

police hewlqiMrten into • nisfat air th>» k.f .. i. l 

me oetective, the frozen mow tutg like ttnick wi™.. tk. 
iU« glutered blue-white in . pi Jd 1^ TZ\^ 

tween high embtttlementi of brick and .ton, -ri. ? . 

S^rfl .K ^/^ '™''"« «"•«"■» 'hrough Burme.e 

jungle.; there w« the «„,e oppm.ive hu.h ..if ,e™ 
«.d ,.„ lurked .n hidden place, on either .ide. P^ 
the .„ten«ty of my thought, dwmed ««,ething of rZ^Z 

lainingiy on my arm and said- "TJi..*. .u. . 

w.y in the dty-they ..ugTtted I^^MpTref; 
1«T V'thT'* the first, faith, but/indade V ^ he 
«t. I ,h,nk we bagged them thi, trip. Why , land 1 ke 
*«. God'. garden-«vi„'. of course, the oull ^!^m 
bc^ov^^n With Dagpe,, and Ch.nk.. an' Pol« "tjlJ 

I did not a„.wer a. we pased on; my que.tioning wa. 

t^l Tl '" •'""''• ^'^ ^'^ -' tiversingX hT 
^non of th.ev« „d murderer, for a minister of the 
gospel f Was God asleep— was it all „ i;. .1. . 1. 
note of the sparrow's fST ' ''" "^^ ^' '""^ 

with k'T" ".V'"*'' '■'' " *'' ''•*«=''^« «'d. tapping lightlr 
iTtlJ. .^'!.f 'u°" * '''^•" ''«"' - narrow «>d S 
1« mto the bUnk waU that my eye. failed to outline k 

333 



The Lone Furrow 



I heard the complaining creak of a reluctant bolt; a 
square of dim uncertain light cut the darkness from a 
panel of the door, and a head was silhouetted framed in 
this square setting. A haish voice asked, " Huh I what 
wantee? " 

The Irishman's broad shoulders cut my vision as he put 
his face close to the opening and answered: "All ri(^t, 
Ying— just want makee look — see." 

There was a disapproving grunt — the square trap was 
closed and I heard a|"yah-honk " of rasping Chinese speech 
within. Then a heavier bolt grated in its sockets and the 
door swung cautiously open; we slipped within and it was 
closed again behind us. 

My lungs rebelled at the pungent, acrid atmosphere. 
Again my memory carried me swift to Indian bazaars, with 
their conglomerate smells of hookah pipe, and burning cow 
dung, and gnapie. 

G>nnor tipped his head toward us and whispered: 
"Don't ask any questions; just put on your holiday face. 
Them divils is quick as cats." 

We were in a basement as respectably furnished as a 
stable. On my left was a pile of charcoal which nestled 
•gainst a stove; partitions cut the room into stalls on either 
side, and in each division was a raised platform like a 
wide double bunk. 

As we went down the center a tall, slim, white man, 
in shirt sleeves, stood adjusting his tie. At sight of us he 
turned quickly and busied himself in a corner with his 
face turned to the wall. 

" That's a new duck at the game," Gmnor whispered ; 
" he's ashamed of being seen. But there's a couple of old 
334 



The Lone Furrow 



I'-ttle gla« Ia«p half fulU otfn IT. """ '«'«' « 
wick. With a steel n«dle „„ x ^'"''' *'°"'"<' « ''Shted 
ball of black stfc? substL 7 '^u' "'" P''^'^"' « ''"I" 
card «,d heldTfo, ti"" '^•^ ''f^ "' » P'-Wng 
I'Bhted wick; then hi ^oIM ?,"''' '." ""^ "«« "^ the 
bowl of a biu^bols^ pS ' " •"■ "" '*»- 

^^^M^«..hVe,whafsheupto?"Malcol™asked;„, 

. dL-r^a "wlli-ar til r^fh-^rr "^ "--^ 

carried a bitter acrM ^n / V ""* °* ** '"W"- 

•-li^JwhaT^r;--^^^ At 

fflaiwe study— opium I ** """^bt in the 

"May I look at one of those didik? " t l j ^ 

The detective spoke to one oTth! l '^'^ ^'«"- 

Ws pJpe to n,e. I^„t h ell to * '"'^ ^ ''«=''«' 

A« could be no doub 1,-t'^a^^r "°«' "M''"' k"- 

dung to Neil's doves J^l- '^"™ ""*" ^at had 

desk f^n, whi^ Ro^rt td f r ""' ^ ''""'' °^ ^I'* 
my eyes. "*' ''^•'' «»»«thing to hide from 

WctS'of th?iSo:^;f ""^ •'•'^ - the debauched 
I Had never ^T^^,i\^:^^ ^« «' - 

335 



The Lone Furrow 



Malcolm looked at me and shuddered. "Put that 
devil's weapon of destruction out of your hand, man," 
he said; "let's get out of this — it's like being in hell — 
we're wasting time; we're out to look for our friend, not 
to gaze on this unholy work." 

" I'm lookin' for your friend," Connor answered quietly; 
" you must leave it to me." 

Bain Mmed his face to me in perplexity. The dim 
light showed furrows of care In his forehead and a sigh 
of impatience escaped him. 

" What does he mean? " Bain asked. " We'll not find 
Neil among these pagans and their victims." 

I shook my head. 

" Perhaps he's after some one that knows where Neil 
lives." 

I nodded. 

Connor had gone on down to the lower end of the 
room where I could see a door. He spoke to a Chinaman 
who had accompanied him and the latter, opening the door, 
they passed through it. 

I stood watching curiously the process of preparing the 
insidious drug. There was a deceitful air of simplicity 
about the performance that served to accentuate its dread- 
ful, unapparent fatality. The man who cooked and rolled 
it with loving care was young; but in his eyes — the whites 
of which were shrouded In blue-gray — and in his manner — 
deliberate, monotonous — ^was the solemnity of a thousand 
years. He fashioned the evQ thing till it was like a large 
black bead on the end of his needle, and as he held it in 
the blaze again it sputtered viciously with resinous avidity. 
It was cooked. He forced It Into the small ho!<> of the 



The Lone Furrow 



oblivion. °^'" '^'■»"8'''* °f the smok, of 

of the eflFrontery of sin bu^^hf \, u ""'• ^^' ^''"^ 

its linb into SifhtrT ^"''"'•''"''' ** <*-" that ate 

. -iS^w".^■"^ '^* '• -^ lick * . dM ., 

How is it sold here?" It was an .Ml- • . 

horn of the intent curiosity tLT Ae d^ 'r"°" ^"»' 
exdted. ""'wity tnat the dramatic situation 

337 






The Lone Furrow 



"Twenty-five cents a card." Hi» voice wm monot- 
onous, unmodulated; he spoke in the tones of a man al- 
most deaf, the dreamy voice of a Lotus Eater. 

On the card beside him was a little pitch lake, the size of 
a coat button. 

" How much do you smoke? " I asked, with an apology. 

His senses unacute, grasped nothing but the direct query. 
" Three cards a day," he answered listlessly ; " one in the 
morning, one in tlje afternoon, sad one at night." 

" Does it make you forget your troubles? " 

" I don't forget my troubles," he answered in the heavy 
singsong voice. 

The deathly perfume of the smoker's pipe hung repul- 
sively in my nostrils as he laid it down with a sigh of 
weatiness. I scanned his waxen face for some sign of 
exhllaraticn, for some evidence of that blissful repose that 
is supposed to be the one brief palliation of eternal damna- 
tion. I detected nothing but unutterable emptiness; his 
face mirrored from his soul just an unmeaning void. Un- 
speaking, silent he lay, with his eyes fixed upon the lamp, 
a slight movement of his fingers, as he tapped idly on his 
thigh, the only evidence of phyncal existence; his face was 
a mental blank. 

" We'll go, gentlemen — I've done no good here," Con- 
nor said, buttoning his warm coat. 

As the heavy smoke-blackened door swung inward when 
we jtcppfd to the narrow street, Malcolm threw his chest 
out, filling his great lungs. I, too, drank at the clean air 
as a thirsty horse revels in dear running water. 

" Man alive! " cried Bain, " but just a lung full of this 
iieavenly air is better than all the damnable drugs in the 
338 



The Lone Furrow 



^^^'liZV'^ZrJ'"'' ^" '■•"'^ -^ '"■•-"■>. officer? " 
hobnobbing with those heathen"" ""^ " """'"*' 

the 'X"'th';«th?«l ""'■'''• "^«'* « -"»ter hit. 

"Oh, it can't V^itlrbcfT '^':'.'°^' ^°°-" 
to believe it, it doesn't stanTt «!' Tnlan '"'u"^"" 
"o. no. no! a n,a„ with a good "^ ™ *", couldn't- 
brought up a Christmn .^r"",^'*'^' >"«" who had been 
couldn't sink so ir''"^' ' *'^'"' "^ *^ ^^d- 

weir«*^n^hTd'r;ftrr"'-^- ^^-« 

^^-triWng to rebuke trd^'i^-rfnrow^^' 

.V. 'J^;? •"■' ""' *'" ""- »"y-«y." Connor said ; " but 
^JWhat did the Chinaman say-did you «k hi.?" J 

The detective pve a little «,iff of amusement 
I d.d not: that would have blown ^Zg tk-> 
Chinks have ' the wireles. ' K... . , ^"* ^"*" 

work it. it's meseirdlTknt but" T'^f u"°'^ '""^ 
of the bag in one of th ir 7; « to ^L "" "' °" 
they're onto you in all ChllT o '"'"' »^" » 

not our Wend^tJive thtTri^'^^^^^ t' ""^ '^'^'^ 
^ dope; and if I kt him J 1°^ *•" """ *« ^uy 
-ex cat^h ;«;' of Lm^ ^"^ "'" '^ "'" "^^ -•«« 
"What shall we do now?" I .gked. 

339 



■ I 



The Lone Furrow 



" We'll take a look at some of the other places, and come 
back later on. It's here that the man we're lookin' for 
hits the pipe." 

We visited half a dozen places similar to Ying's. 
Caverns of Inferno, peopled, as was his, by slaves of the 
poppy-blood. I walked in a dream through a maze of 
narrow streets, our leader sometimes volunteering their 
names — Vitre, La Gauchitiere, Bleury — uncanny names. I 
grew tired, depressed. We searched for a man with a 
prayer in our hearts that we might not find him — 
not find him in the Satanic haunts to which our guide 
led us. 

" We'll take a peep into some of the chop suey houses," 
the detective said at last ; " our man might be havin' some- 
thing to eat." 

The chop suey places were all alike. Up creaking stain 
we climbed and passed through narrow halls o£E which 
opened eating rooms that were like large boxes. Sometimes 
these were occupied, and the eaters of chop suey eyed us 
curiously, often with apprehension. 

Once Ginnor checked as we trailed in Indian file 
through a hallway, saying: "Faith, there's Ba'tiste, I'll ask 
him. He's the divil an wheels entirely. He's a runner 
for a sailor's boarding house. Sometimes he runs with the 
thieves, and sometimes with us." 

Through the half-open door of a room I saw a small, 
dark man, whose face, sharp-nosed as a weasel's, had been 
pitted by smallpox till it was like yellow, pebbled Morocco. 
Across the table from him sat a frayed female, who some- 
how conveyed the impression of a rich child's doll that had 
fallen in the gutter and lain there for days. Lace and 
340 



^^^^ the evfl pock-„„ked face wa, twfst^l by the 

;;Y«. Have you wen hin, Iately_to-„;d,t?" 
..What you want. eh-d,„„ p.lj„„p"r*^ 

oay, Bnan — " thf <in.ii 
-•- the dark face werf usSs::!^^]'''^''' "^™»' «^ 
^'« th' hell you mak- de Zrr J ff ' ™""K '''»"'. 

,j^ „ n*» were ticklm' your ribs with cold 

*ou^w«™ blood ch2it;r:,r-^ '^ - 

-<Utw:VDt?,'r '"■*'!; ^»^*you,ave 
Br heUI I forget Y« Tt ?""' r''""'"-' ^'Bet- 

«y '"fc. too-he nurse me." Ba'tiste «ud 
341 



The Lone Furrow 



wmethinK >» French to hit companion, who raited her handt 
in an inimitable exprettion of piout adoration. "See," 
Ba'tiste continued in Engliih, " Franchette tay he it de good 
man." 

" Thete are hit friendt," Connor continued; " they want 
to find him." 

Baptitte tcanned our faces narrowly. It wat difficult 
for him to ditabute hit mind of the idea that when the 
police searched for, anyone, aught but trouble wat behind the 
searching. With a shrug of the shoulders he turned from 
his sharp scrutiny of our faces to ask — " Irish, what you 
want M«t' /* Cure — you want shanghai him for some damn 
landlubber Bethel? What you want? Make de sign of 
de cross, Irish, an' speak de trut'. I know where is M'sieu 
le Cure, but I'll see de whole damn p'lice force in hell 
'fore I tell if you goin' make trouble for dat poor man. 
He's a Chrittian." 

" If it is the minister we're looking for," I interposed, 
"we want to take him home to his family; we arc his 
friends," 

" He's not done not'ing wrong — Mon Dieti I why I ask, 
he can't dc not'ing wrong, he's Christian. Tres bieni alle* 
—come wit' me." 

The runner's invitation was comprehensive; it included 
the gaudy red-ribboned lady of the feast 

Behind these two we walked through more narrow 
streets, the sidewalks of which were like furrows plowed 
in white ice; they were gutters from which at times we 
climbed over moundt of frozen tnow, following our guide 
who disdained crossings, and, as I fancied, traveled by the 
inttina of direction. We never came into the broader ways, 



The Lonc Furrow 



" .PP-d, 3orior;,«/J "'« J^^^^^ claimed 

~"nd ,„d slipper. HeS««?. V ""''^^'•^' *^'« 

Kh^'ng through the ho„« " *''" **"» " ^"h tattoo 

Dw « my mudder", house » H.V . .. 
'' C«r/ « lodge here. ButT'wonV W ""'' ""' M'«.>u 
«»"• By Garl he i, «»„ '-c!. ''^'^ "<»^''"e Prettv 

'' CurS is damned foTu^^'^^^*" He,, den' S 
♦«» Heaven, by Garl he i, de fi' ', '"'"' ,^«««»«"t « Ket 
"^J.. MWu,^ Come. IrS " *"' ''' '='^*- ^. 

«.d .omethfng ;„ FrencT «T th/ T 't"''^' «"'''■«« 
l«v,ng u, by a door that ^pe"^ „ff ,f ^ ,?'" '''' ''^h^. 
I»dd.ng u, follow, led the w^ ° V • .'^'' '"'' »«'"«'. 
«« upper room. ^ "" « *">dmg stairway to 

^ B«'tite knocked S^tl^tt .'"''''' ''"•'•" 

'f-iT me; a chi,4 dtadTenT • ""■"" '''« '«"' - 
■that now we had fouid n ""we'Th Tfi'""-'^''" 
J«l tenement that had Cutd^S T '''°"" «nd but the 
the Mi«io„_jurt the u-T '°^"''' « ^he desk of 

^^^ ^ne fori;;, % --"i j'J^ ^V""" ^""^ ^^ 
a oe i,ke another step in this 
343 



The Lone Furrow 



deepening tragedy; this mytteiy that never lifted from out 
the deeper thadowi. 

I could hear Malcolm breathe heavily in the nitpente 
of waiting. 

Ba'tiste q>read the expressive fingers of his hand in a 
silent command for us to remain, and, turning the lock, 
he swung the door and passed into the room, only to re- 
appear in the doorway and motion us to enter. He held 
the lamp above a small cot, and its sickly yellow rays fell 
upon the cold, drayn face of Neil Munro. 

At first I thought he was dead; the eyes were closed, 
the face itself gleamed yellow-white like wax. 

I saw Malcolm's hand upon Munro's breast, feeling 
his heart. 

"Is he dead?" I whispered. 

Bain shook his head. "No, he's not dead, poor Neil I 
but he's in a bad way," he said presently. 

"What is it?" I asked— " what's the matter with 
him?" 

" Been hittin' the pipe too much," the detective said, and 
his answer sounded brutal. 

"Non, non," objected Ba'tiste; "yes, p'rhaps hit de 
pipe leetle, but he work too much, an' don't eat plenty. 
He's seek, he's weaL You know hes name?" Ba'tiste 
continued, his small intense e}res fixed on my face ques- 
tioningly. 

I nodded. 

"By Gar I he don't hesself. He don't know not'ing— 
he's lost; just work for le ton Dint— can't find out not'ing 
from him ; hes frien' he don't know." 

"We must take him to the hospital," Malcolm said; 
344 



-I^iJ^fncFurrow 



"he »eenw tobe in u^nZZ 

^ what it i." " °* ''•^ ''"Por. or deej^i don't 

M?fv ^'^•' '■'f^-'^noS'^"^'^'- "'•- ^ 
i™^«iv™tr.p:ir^jr^^^^^^ .e ,„„„, 

«I«J««jo„. ""•«''' 'ubverfng everything el« „f 

While B.-ti.te ^u^nMZrJ^^ ^""^ »«»""«'' 
N«l to consciouwes.; TchL , ? ^' '""' '» «>"«« 

**■«• Something of the terr.B^^z , °*'"' '''« »luKeish 
P-^ted into the'*. JotnT:;; t "T;'"" '^^ ■" ^ 
twic^ „d half turned hi. he!S^ ' "'''"^ *'""> «"«« or 

'«->^ '^^"ti''^-^:^^--'^ -^ the Mini^ter. 

2"f ^-. .till wrap"d „ t td M "T" • •«"- "«' 
«».pla,ning „„„, J" '" *« bed bl«,kets. down the 

•^P^ where Ro^",,; '^ "' ''""''^ to Jhe 

.^««We."theDo«or«M. • 
Ph-tac word, dealing ^'^jf' «""' «>n,prehen,ive. em- 

Th««'.noim„,ediatedange?bu/h ' *" •'*''"'• 

*•»«" uy he wa, doomed Jij" "'" """ » « ^'"ck. I 

nu^t.o.^j^, „„, of th«e?'Ti' T"^°'^' '«"«->nt 

«* the bro*. city echoed bS?o tl7 T *' '^-* •''°«''1« 
•»"' -ft- hour, the sp.ce.1f^S.VtreT * T' '°"^'' 
tt , '*"t time they chronicled in 

345 



The Lone Furrow 



their wlent trtn«v*rfe of the dial of the univcne, m we 
two friends of the man of collapw Mt deeplcM and talked 
in hushed voice. 

Here was Jean's ship, battered, a derelict, found but to 
be towed into port— and how? What wu now to do? And 
having found Neil, were it not better that we had come 
upon the memory of a man dead? 

And the silent voices of thou^t read to us, solved, 
the riddle of the many months' mystery. The tears of 
despair that oozed i from the flagrant-hued poppy, silent 
lurking devils of infamy, had caused Neil to disappear. 
And Jean must have known. Shielding Neil's name this 
thing she had hidden in her heart, with no word of upbraid- 
ing for the absent one, even rather reproaching God for 
His want of susuining care. And Robert too had known. 
In all his blatant drunkenness he had remained silent on this 
point. I cursed myself for my hideous suspicions of the 
boy. 

And now actuality and knowledge only brought closer 
the edge of a dark future. Better a thousand times that 
Neil should die than go back, like a son of Ahab, to sit 
in the shadow of God's tabernacle, and in the lifj^t of 
his wife's regard, a bondman to this hideous devil-god 
that was worse than Baal. 

The winteiy dawn grayed our frosted window with its 
limning of ice ferns as we still sat chained to the rock of 
sleeplessness by these links of bitter memory and hopeless 
anticipation. There seemed something so heinous in the 
power of trifles for evil. 

God, wise, omnipotent, creative; and beneath the spread 
of his hand a woman of glorious quality and a man of God, 
346 



«««ch upon i„ pocird'o^tT' "f""^** ««*"- 

tricing t«„ of .„.•,„,; ri^Th,:^ ?•""'• '"^' '^ 

"'hen thi, one «n.Il blJ L' 7"'"'^ '" °' '^ ■'>-«*. 
thel«peofGod,n,«,. «t.^:r;' ''''-''"-• -uld ch,^' 

•^ tabulated nebuJoJ^T^S* ^nT"'' ""' '^''''^'^'^~ 
t.-n« in word.. «,d ^eiZ! T '"'"' "' "'^ '"""i.- »«««. 

Fn«, ncLf r/^ t,f '" "^ »;' "ndcm«,d.n,. "^ 
•"tho, of the n,i^ryZ.T:,; r' '''r'^'^ '- 'he 

f««" of the truth; but TiZl^'^^ ^'^ .*""''' "* fLd 

Ne.l w« found, «,d be.W ."cI IT"" '''" " '"' 
■ffun. "*^ *'« would soon be well 

ih«s'ht4L':f"^r:;t;'^j//''\- M.icoin.. fo, 

" «xident. but wni ™i''"J«"»h«N..-,„^^.^^ 

th'nfa-ng th.t when .he h« her I.t^\ " *' ""'P'*- I'-" 
<=h«b with hU chubby S,t.. ' 5"'""* ''"'''■■"e « her 
*«« « to tell; for wh<« J^ V^ u*" ^ *°" "^.tever 
^^nu pluck-. .t.r/w ' W ^r'!i ' ^""'"^ 'he 
««her, C«neron. when ^e Zl k '? '"^ " °^" »o- 

* ""' hy whatever the Do«or 

347 



The Lone Furrow 



knows, and we'll fix it up to tide the poor girl over her 
hour of trial." 

"Ye«," I answered, "and the first act in this neces- 
sary programme is a letter home written on rose^oloted 
paper with the lines all running uphill, which indicates 
cheerful hope, optimism." 

For three days Neil wandered in the borderland that 
lies half in the Shadow of the Valley of Death. It was 
wonderful to me that the machinery of human structure 
could run so silently, so close to the edge of cessation, and 
yet not stop. It ^as like a clock that, inaudible in its 
esccpement, still carries its pendulum over the dead-center. 

On the fourth day the pendulum just whispered — Neil's 
heart beat stronger, and the Doctor, who had answered our 
queries in a negation of silence, now said: "The patient, 
with care, will live for a time; how long I cannot say. He 
is just worn out. More opium will kill him, a..'.' without 
it he will die." 

" The opium will surely kill him. Doctor? " I queried. 

" Yes, he is half atrophfcd now. But if he had not 
used it, as he has lived, burning up his life force without 
sufficient rest and nutriment, he would have die^ of col- 
lapse or pneumonia before this. This slow poison has 
enabled his system to repulse the other agents of disease, 
the small eaters-up of life." 

" But does no one ever recover if they give up the 
opium?" I asked. 

" Few ever give it up, and when they do they generally 

die. There have been cases of dearly bought victory — such 

as De Quincy's — but our patient has not the stamina, I 

think. In India in the jails the officials recognise the fact 

34i 



The Lone Furrow 



««ce he h« come to tjTE " f"" ""' "^ « ''"J^ 
otherw«." "" hospital-he would have died 

^^ eacng off the h.b.t-toofc „o opium?" I 

My answer to that mnu k. .i 
d« within a n,onth. Z^t Uy^n L"""" u"' ""'^"^ 
with tender care. He's like V • ^^ "' *'«« y", 

«e; the worb will /rLllr'/'* "";""•""' <»- 
thqr stop." 8««'"«Hiy run slower and slower until 

our face, were like^St 'iJ """^ "^^ '•^^'y." 

G«dually hi. tn.e c^.ifbZ:"'' '° "■'» '" • d"-.. 
forgotten many thinn. sJ™^ "^ *° "*• "« •»<« 
«^ deeper d3in ^.^ZSsTS' '"""" '" "'' 
vivid than fnddents of W ^ r "**' *"» «»"» 
W come out or?„dt ^11? '' ""^ "» ^--^^ ^e 
w« . thous«,d ye nl«r,i'^'.'"''j« «» ^^ •'» 
md there. The churSJ « rj^"'' "" ^'^ ^'''•* ^^«- 

the fear, had oblitera^H T . '""*' ** ''«"«. "d 
«. liU^red uniX^ Sy" tSttinll' "' •-- 
ve«el Mattered by the strZrf, t h '"'"*«'• weak 

We had hesitTted wT^f^ "f Predominant «„. 
foreboding ofT^ I'ltS'I'"' *" "^ "^ J«".- • 
''I* He WM likeTd.nH » LT; """"*^ »" «^' 

349 



The Lone Furrow 



It was Malcolm who said at last: "Jean is waiting 
at home for you, Neil, and when you are stronger we 
are to take you back to your wife." 

For a day the words " Jean," and " wife," and " home " 
came and went fitfully in his mind, sometimes finding aio- 
mentary life on his lips. 

Of his going away from lona, of his coming to Mon- 
treal, of the life there, all was a blank; it was something 
sealed and in the keeping of another. The slow tortuous 
unraveling of the frayed ends of the past, the smoothing 
out of the wrinkled intellect, was a soul-trying, almost hope- 
less, endeayor. , 

Neil's faint grasp of reality grew stronger so imper- 
ceptibly that we scarce noticed it. But at last he began to 
understand, though as yet weaklt'. Our faces gradually 
found their counterpart registered in the long ago of his 
mind; the words Jean and home and the others beat at 
the barriers of forgetfulness, shattering the walls of ob- 
livion, until they entered deeper into dw dtadel of his 
understanding, and he talked of all these things, the dearest 
on earth, in the monotonous voice of a man who discusses 
the trivial commonplaces of life. 

"This state will pass," the Doctor said; "time will 
brush the cobwd>s away. His mentality will dear." 

"And after that—" I asked, "what?" 

"He will die. His mental force is the stronger; un- 
drugged it wQl work smoothly, but the shattered machinery 
of his physical force will stop." 

"And of the drug," I asked—" the fearful opium? " 

"He is getting none of it now; something else? yes. 
And when he is a little stronger he must decide for him- 

3SO 



The Lone Furrow 



«lf-op.un, and a little longer of life, with a death in 
•in, w no opium, and perhaps to leave a little sooner." 

Ihere came the day we were to take Neil back to the 
village, font now rested altogether with himself and God 

like ri ^"^" "'""*' """'^* •" '°"''' ^"'^ ^"'''y' 

And Robert was going, too, a helpless cripple, to be 
earned. i-i- . « «: 

Nea was in a private ward, and we were allowed to be 
with hm, at will. It was the night before the homegoing 
that Munro told Malcolm and me of the coming ofhi; 
•h«me, of dnftmg into the land of the Lotus Eaters It 
was a sad, bitter tale of unsought sin. 

In India it had begun, this carrying of the yoke of 
JTm^i!"'. !T'"' '"'* ~"" '" *« ''strict in which 

only the souls, but the bodies of his people. He had over- 
taxed h« strength a thousandfold, living on his wQl when 

^IJ". '^"'"* •"' '"sufficient food and his blood 
scorched by the fierce heat. 

A f«thful servant. Rammia, had given him-withmit 

^^"u 'If ''"'-"" ^^^^ '^'''' °f »ust«nment, 
«nd when he did come to know the price of his own sacri- 
hce, It Moned nothing if he accomplished good for his 
people; if he could save them body and soul. 

Nea told the sad story without abhorrence. That it 
h«d wrecked his life seemed to carry nothing of remorse. 
It WM aomous phase of aristianity, and yet that is what 
It w», Umstiamty; not out of physical desire, but just for 
• Utae sustaimng to carry on the work of his Master. 

But when Neil left India he had given up the drug. 
351 



The Lone Furrow 



He told ut of the horrible fight be had made to OMiquer, 
and he had conquered. He only thought he had ically, for 
when brouEht weak again by overwork and mental ftratn 
in the village, the Devil, who had been waiting, held to hi* 
soul the allurement of falie strength, and he fell. 

Then Robert had discovered Neil's secret sin. There 
had been a torrent of recrimination from the boy, smart- 
ing under Neil's monitorship over his weakness. Neil, 
hovering on the brink of physical collapse, struck by the 
tragic awfulness of his position, was hurled into an abyss 
of mental darkness. He had wandered forth in the early 
morning, following an impulse to flee from his shame, and, 
from that time imtil lifted into reason in the hospital, he 
had wandered in a dim cavern of forgetfulness, his in- 
tellect working like a clock with the pi<3ent, the past al- 
most a dead thing of the past. It was something akin 
to instinct that had held him in the field of his life's work, 
the service of God. 

Nefl himself explained it very simply as the guidance 
of God, but to me it held an unfathomable depth of 
psychology, even of physiology. 

Such phases of the mystery as this would never be 
solved, I knew; but, how simple the unraveling of the 
mystifying actualities, Neil's disappearance and its cause, 
now was. How simple, and yet how terrible, the shadow 
of despair and inevitable death thrown ineibceably across 
Neil's life and Jean's. 

And now R<Aert, the secret he had carried locked in 

his heart known to us, admitted that Jean had also known. 

He had gone to Jean with the horrible story, and she had 

made him swear never to divulge it; that was why his 

3$Z 



The Lone Furrow 



opium into little pelleti. •w" it to cut the 

It eeetued . lifctlro th.t we hri be,„ ,„,, „|^ 

^T^l^lZfj,'"- ^ »' - »-o« 

£p.T^rt-',--r.t'if 

^.:^.^ri^"^r'torr:r-jr •^™ 
;*^^.^,.t.«^,..T:i-:j;^?CJ 

th. m' "* *f« ^« « dasp of warm arms; and for Neil 
the M«s.h,b-. h«,d th« led hf. to the bie an^chLr jj 

Prwently the bustle of our commg died to a little I,...!. 
«d .d e„,, , ^^, ^,,.,„^ ,^J^^ voiclth tw 

w our ear. like the sweet music of silver bells. 
353 



The Lone Furrow 



SomethinK of thankfulncM lursed from my heart and 
crept its choking wqr upward, and nqr voice was thick a*. 
putting my hand in Munro't, I laid: " Neil, that's the voice 
of your child." 

Hit lip trembled a* he essayed to speak. Tears coursed 
down his pale cheeb; he rose to his feet, and going over 
to where the Memsahib Mt, kissed her on the forehead. 

The Memsahib took Munro's hand, saying: "God hat 
been good to Jean, Neil; you can go up to see her and 
the boy presently— when the first joy of your coming hat 
quieted a Uttle." 

Then she led Munro back to the chair. He raised his 
tired eyes upward and said solemnly: "Thank God 
for all His goodness, and His mercy to me, a poor, re- 
pentant sinner! " 




354 



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A ROMANCE OF THE OVIL WAR. 



The Victory. 

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